Royal Albert Hall will go bust by 2021 without urgent funds, says chief exec

3 July 2020, 14:57 | Updated: 3 July 2020, 14:58

Marillion Live At The Royal Albert Hall, London
Chief executive Craig Hassall has warned the history venue is in grave danger. Picture: Kevin Nixon/Classic Rock Magazine/Future via Getty Images

According to reports, the iconic venue will run out of funds by its 150th anniversary in March 2021 if action isn't taken.

The Royal Albert Hall is in danger of going bust by early next year if it doesn't receive urgent support, says boss.

The historic venue has seen its doors closed for over 100 days and has lost £12m due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no timeline yet given for its reopening.

As reported by i News, Craig Hassall - the chief executive of The Royal Albert Hall - has now said it could be declared insolvent by the time its 150th anniversary takes place in March 2021.

According to the outlet, the venue has already taken out a £5m loan, but needs a further £5-10m to avoid going under next year and could be declared bankrupt sooner if the furlough scheme isn't extended for venues unable to reopen.

READ MORE: Michael Eavis says Glastonbury Festival could be bankrupt if it isn't held in 2021

Hassall told i: "The Government support has been very oblique and vague. We have lobbied hard and consistently across the sector. But [Culture Secretary] Oliver Dowden’s roadmap for recovery has no dates and nothing firm.

"There is no guidance from Government on when we can open or how we can open. Without that it’s impossible for us to trade – and that means the whole sector.

“I had one meeting with the department where we were all told to follow the guidelines. This was about a month ago. And we all said – the theatre industry, outdoor music, film, cinema – we can’t open with these guidelines.

"It’s not difficult. It’s not as though we’re not trying hard enough. It’s not possible. It’s operationally, financially and artistically not possible to operate within these guidelines.”

Hassall added: "Until venues can open without social distancing, the live music industry is finished"

READ MORE: Gigs and festivals affected by the coronavirus pandemic

The news comes after 1,500 artists and members of the music industry joined forces to send a joint letter for the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.

In a joint letter, stars - who include Liam Gallagher, The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney Ed Sheeran, Florence + The Machine, Coldplay, Annie Lennox, The Cure and Sir Rod Stewart - appealed to Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to support the industry after 2020 festivals were axed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter reads: "UK live music has been one of the UK's biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.

"Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry."

Read the full joint letter here

The acts have also called for a clear timeline for when venues can reopen without social distancing, a comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance, and full VAT exemption on ticket sales.

Liam Gallagher said: "Amazing gigs don't happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they'll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love.

"I can't wait to get back to playing for the fans.

"But in the meantime we need to look after the live industry. There are so many great people in it and we all need to support them until we can get back to playing live."