Many businesses across the country had expansion plans scuppered due to the pandemic and POP Hyde, one of the 30 venues most at risk, is no different.
Founded in 2017, the former Tameside post office turned music venue expected this year to be its ‘big year’ and hoped to support young local musicians by launching a range of new features to accompany its live stage.
Speaking on behalf of the venue, Jax Francis, said: “It has been our toughest year so far no doubt but more than anything we’ve been extremely disappointed that we’ve been unable to support our local community.”
As well as a new digital training programme, plans were in place to develop a mixed media editing suite, a self branded radio station and small scale vinyl record production.
POP also serves its community as a local checkpoint for foodbanks/clothing/toys as well as offering micro-traders low cost display space for artisan goods, ran entirely by volunteers.
COVID has unfortunately put all plans on hold as now the self-funded venue continues its fight for survival.
Francis added: “POP has been extremely humbled by the support from the local community who want to see us make it into 2021.
“We have been blown away at the sheer generosity of donations to our Music Venue Trust Save the 30 campaign at such a difficult time for everyone.”
On top of the MVT crowdfunding effort, the local community submitted ideas and items for POP's own etsy store to help generate revenue.
Plus, in our opinion, they have the most eye-catching PuckDrop football shirt design which includes Easter Island Heads that feature at each side of the POP stage.
As well as local gigs, POP hosts monthly under 18 open mics and prides itself on giving a platform for young people to launch their original music in front of an audience.
Many of POP’s expansion plans mentioned earlier were aimed at enabling young people to develop their musicianship and song writing skills, having established a relationship with Tameside Music Service (TMS).
“We have a devoted following of young people and this partnership, POP became the natural home for the TMS showcases and their battle of the bands,” said Francis.
“There are plenty of live music venues that cater for covers or tribute bands. We believe here at POP that the thrill of finding a new favourite band, artist or song can never be underestimated.”
Based in Greater Manchester, the venue has many industry figures local fighting for them including Mayor Andy Burnham and Night Time Economy adviser Sacha Lord, who has remained vocal throughout the lockdown about the government's actions.
Francis echoed many of Sacha Lord’s frustrations: “It’s been a crazy unprecedented time for everyone, including the Government, but it would be fair to say that their approach hasn’t been without issues.
“We have been grateful for the funding that they made available yet it’s difficult to not feel that hospitality and entertainment has been somewhat of a scapegoat in the current climate.
“Whilst the outlook isn’t rosy, we are hoping that we can survive into the spring. It will be a long battle no doubt, but we aim to emerge bigger and better in 2021.”