The Cavern Club, the historic Liverpool venue where the Beatles played nearly 300 shows prior to the British Invasion, is in danger of permanently closing due to the coronavirus, club owners and local government officials warned Friday.
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson told the Liverpool Echo that — even though U.K. venues have been allowed to reopen with reduced attendance and social distancing guidelines — the Cavern “could close forever” if the club’s bid to the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund falls through.
“The fact that the world-famous Cavern could close forever because of Covid-19 should bring home to the Government how much our hugely treasured music industry is in peril. This virus has caused unimaginable pain and grief but it’s proving to be an existential threat to our cultural scene,” Anderson told the newspaper.
“The prospect of losing a national jewel like the Cavern is a horrible scenario for all concerned, be they Beatles fans, music lovers and above all those whose livelihoods depend on it.”
One of the current directors of the club, Bill Heckle, told the Echo that the Cavern Club has been losing £30,000 ($39,000) a week since the beginning of the pandemic, and that the venue recently let go of 20 employees with more layoffs expected. “We made a decision a few years ago to keep as much money in the bank as possible for a rainy day, not realizing it was going to be a thunderstorm,” Heckle said, adding the club’s cash reserves have been halved by the pandemic.
“It’s a very vibrant part of the Liverpool economy, which is why we’re reaching out at the end of August and reopening the Cavern for a week, virtually and bands from all around the world have sent messages and recorded sets,” Heckle added. “We know we’re not going to make money, it’s about really reminding people we’re here and the sole aim is to get out the other side. I’m sure we will, but it is about survival.”
The Cavern Club is one of the countless venues on both sides of the Atlantic that face closure without the help of government intervention; earlier this week, the Restart Act and the Save Our Stages Act — two U.S. bills pushed forth by the National Independent Venue Association and the National Independent Talent Organization — remained up in the air when Congress went into recess without a new Covid-19 relief bill.