The Leadmill Beyond Lockdown

With the reopening of music venues creeping ever closer, we spoke to Sam, a Live Promoter at the Leadmill to hear how one of Sheffield’s most popular music venues has weathered the storm of Coronavirus and what the future of nights out and live music could look like.

How has lockdown been for the Leadmill as a business? How have you managed to stay afloat where so many other venues are failing to reopen?

Very challenging, it’s been a series of surreal highs and incredible lows. We’ve had some really great support from both the public and artists which has been so amazing to see but the uncertainty of everything has made it a really anxious time for everyone here.

How do you feel about reopening to the public after so long?

It feels good to get back into doing what we do best, we all feel the itch to get back creating and delivering events for the great people of our city. We’ve spent a lot of time making the venue as safe as possible so we’re looking forward to having some people back in the building!

What can we expect from a post lockdown night out? What new measures will be in place?

Things will likely vary from event to event due to different set ups but for the time being, everything will be seated with an at seat service for drinks, we’ll have all the usual stuff like sanitiser points and one way systems to reduce contact too. We’re still in the process of piecing everything together but we’re confident with the reduced capacity, we can make it completely safe for customers, it’s our number one priority.

What does the Leadmill have planned for the coming months? Will we see the return of the usual events or something new?

You’ll have to wait and see but we’ve definitely got some brilliant ideas in the pipeline! Club Tropicana will be back but in a completely new format…

How do you feel about the government’s arts relief fund? Has the Leadmill benefitted? Do you feel it was too little too late for many music venues?

It’s great to see the arts be recognised for their contribution to the country. Without these places for people to cut their teeth, we wouldn’t have the fantastic artists this country prides itself on. We won’t know about funding until October time and it is quite a limited fund when split between every cultural business in the UK however I’m hopeful that the funds will go to those who need it most.

How has Alex Turner’s fundraiser affected the Leadmill? How did you feel when you found out what he was doing?

Honestly, it felt like we were in a dream. It’s incredible to see them support us, it just shows that no matter how big they get, they’re still so connected to their roots here in Sheffield. The publicity for this I hope has helped the cause nationwide and obviously it’ll be a huge financial help to us. It’s an incredible amount of money and could mean all the difference when it comes down to it.

Is there anything you’d like to say to local music lovers and fans of the Leadmill?

Just a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us! We are so incredibly grateful, but I do think it’s important to remember we aren’t alone in this situation, there are so many of us going through the same stuff right now so if there are pubs, restaurants, bars, activities or shops that you love, if you can afford it, go and support them. It’s so important at the moment for business’ survival.

A huge thank you to The Leadmill for taking the time to answer our questions. Image Credit: The Leadmill

Louisa Merrick-White

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