Manchester's The Deaf Institute and Gorilla venues saved from closure

22 July 2020, 11:00 | Updated: 22 July 2020, 12:49

Manchester's Gorilla venue in 2015
Manchester's Gorilla venue in 2015. Picture: NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The music venues were both snapped up by buyer Tokyo Industries after they announced they would not be reopening last week.

The Deaf Institute and Gorilla venues have been saved from closure.

As reported by the Manchester Evening News, Tokyo Industries, which owns clubs and bars such as The Factory, has bought both of the Manchester venues just a week after they announced they'd be closing their doors..

As part of the terms between Tokyo Industries and previous owners Mission Mars, current staff are set to keep their jobs.

Aaron Mellor, founder of Tokyo Industries revealed that he'd been working on a rescue mission with SSD Concerts and The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess in order to help save their "their existing operating style in a post Covid world".

The Charlatans' Tim Burgess performs in 2019
The Charlatans' Tim Burgess performs in 2019. Picture: Rune Hellestad - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Mellor said in a joint statement: "These are extremely difficult times for all grassroots music venues around the UK.

"It's vital venues like Gorilla and The Deaf Institute are kept alive, the cultural fabric of our city centres depends on venues like these."

He added: "Over the weekend we have put together some great ideas with SSD Concerts and Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post Covid world.

"We’re not so keen on this ‘new’ normal and want to keep the ‘old’ normal alive for when we all get through this."

READ MORE: Live music venues the UK has lost over the years

Steve Davis, from SSD Concerts, added: “The music industry is facing some of its toughest times at the moment.

"Ever since I first promoted a Charlatans acoustic show at The Deaf Institute 10 years ago, I have had a real love for the venue so it will be an honour to work on the next chapter in their stories."Gorilla is one of my favourite places to watch gigs in the whole of the north west’s amazing music scene.”

Wolf Alice perform at Manchester's Gorilla venue in 2014
Wolf Alice perform at Manchester's Gorilla venue in 2014. Picture: y Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images

Roy Ellis, CEO of Mission Mars, said: "It’s really great news for our teams and the music loving people of Manchester that both venues have found such a perfect new home. 

"The bad news announcement last week regarding the closure plans galvanised an unprecedented level of interest from passionate operators from across the region and even beyond.

"I’m extremely grateful that we’ve been able to find a new and appropriate new home for these amazing venues and people."

Carl Barat Performs at The Deaf Institute in Manchester in October 2010
Carl Barat Performs at The Deaf Institute in Manchester in October 2010. Picture: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage/Getty

The news comes after it was announced last week that the venues would be forced to close "against the backdrop of" the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roy Ellis said in a statement the time: "The Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been at the forefront of the music scene in Manchester for many years and it is with great sadness that we announce that we will not be reopening.

"This difficult decision has been made against the backdrop of COVID 19 and the enforced closure of all of our sites and with continued restrictions upon opening of live music venues.

"We appreciate that these music destinations are well loved and have provided an early stage for many acts in the North West and are therefore well known in the world of music.

"We would encourage any industry and music entrepreneurs who might be interested in this as an opportunity to please get in touch."

The Deaf Institute building originally opened in 1878 and was converted for use as a restaurant in the late 1980s. It became a music venue in 2008 and has since played host to shows by The 1975, Carl Barat, The xx, Metronomy, Tame Impala and many more up and coming artists. The venue last played host to The Outcharms and The Reytons on 14 March 2020.

Gorilla opened in September 2012 to host gigs by the likes of Everything Everything, Idles, James Blake, Fontaines DC and Sam Fender, and also welcomed Radio X's Johnny Vaughan for a live OB last year that saw Liam Fray of Courteeners play a special acoustic set. The building closed its doors on 15 March following a show by Circa Waves.

Watch Liam Fray perform a special mash-up at the venue:

READ MORE: How coronavirus has affected gigs and festivals in 2020