Sheffield’s Dryad Works is set to be removed from Music Venue Trust charity’s “red list”. The grassroots venue was declared at risk of permanent closure following the detrimental impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the music industry.
Joe Taylor, sole owner, and director of Dryad Works has spent two years since 2018 turning the building into a venue and has developed 15 creative workspaces within it.
A few weeks before the first national lockdown was announced, Mr Taylor chose to close the venue, cutting off every major revenue stream.
He said: “We had income from our studios to cover rent but soon enough we were in a position where we couldn’t pay rent to our landlord, so the whole building became jeopardised by the venue.”
Mr Taylor applied for a cultural recovery fund from the Arts Council, which was declined as the venue had not been established long enough.
Thanks to Dryad Works’ keen following, Music Venue Trust, which analyses venues financially to see whether they will survive the pandemic, noticed the struggles it was facing and added it to its Red List.
Mr Taylor said: “It was a full-scale battle to get as much attention as possible. The pandemic almost got us, and we were scarily close to having to shut down and find a new space.”
Music Venue Trust created a Crowdfunder for struggling venues including Dryad Works, for their #SaveOurVenues campaign to protect those affected by the pandemic.
The Crowdfunder has raised over £40,000, but the venue owner says this only just covers the rent and is the bare minimum to stop it from shutting.
A reach target has been added for people to donate if they wish to help it past surviving and move onto expanding and developing the venue to improve it for future events.
Following the government’s announcement of a roadmap out of lockdown, a full year of listings at Dryad Works is in the midst of being created.
Mr Taylor added: “We are taking the roadmap out of lockdown with a pinch of salt and being cautious, but we are extremely eager to come back. Music videos and social media posts are nowhere near the same as having hundreds of people enjoying themselves in your venue.”
The Crowdfunder page can be found here.