A RALLYING cry for support of live music venues amid the pandemic has come from one community club faced with almost 30 per cent no shows amid pandemic concerns.

Wokingham Music Club is a community grassroot society in the area that hosts a variety of tribute nights and original artists from the local community and beyond. It is based at three venues throughout the borough, including the Emmbrook sports and social club, the Royal British Legion Winnersh and The Witty theatre at Luckley House school.

In a statement before Christmas, the government released its plan for the entertainment industry to help businesses with the loss of revenue and event cancellations. The government announced it would be offering £6,000 from their £30 million cultural recovery fund to grassroot venues to mitigate losses for an, as of yet, timeframe.

Mark Davyd, the CEO and founder of Music Venue Trust said; “The minimum length of that period, regardless of any restrictions or limitations to business yet to be announced, is six weeks - you can't simply turn the live music industry on and off like a desk lamp, and tours and events are already cancelled. 

"Not just today, or tomorrow, but for the next three months.”

Wokingham Music Club has said as a community led facility and not for profit group, the uncertainty has been manageable and it has already started back with their full programme of shows.

However, for the club it is the amount of people not turning up who have bought tickets that has been slightly worrying.

Stan Hetherington, the manager of Wokingham Music Club, said: “There is a certain length of time where we can keep going and making losses before we will have to shut the door, but that point in time won’t be here and I’m hoping it won’t be here for a good few months.”

“Before Covid we were about 93 per cent attendance at our shows, we’re now currently just under 60 per cent. 

“We’ve always had the odd no show, but no shows are much higher now and in fact the show that we had on December 17 was the worst. We had nearly 30 per cent who didn’t show up having bought tickets.”

He added: “We’ve got a few regulars that are still happy to come out to music club events but I’m aware of other people who pre covid would have been very regular attenders have said that they’re still a bit nervous about coming out.”

With the increase of vaccination numbers locally, Mr Hetherington added that the situation is improving but added with rising case number ‘some people are still more cautious than others'.