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‘Paid myself nothing and lost £330’ - call to back music venues as Norwich bar owner sets out ‘unsustainable’ costs

Glen Carr and son Jonathan Carr outside Bedfords on its fifth anniversary. Photo: Glen Carr

Glen Carr and son Jonathan Carr outside Bedfords on its fifth anniversary. Photo: Glen Carr

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A bar owner in Norwich has laid out the costs of running a live music venue, saying it is not sustainable for businesses - unless the public rallies to support them.

Bedfords Bar on Old Post Office Yard. Photo: Glen CarrBedfords Bar on Old Post Office Yard. Photo: Glen Carr

Glen Carr, behind Bedfords Bar in the city centre, posted on the Future of Norwich Music Forum public Facebook group, which has been set up for those concerned about the future of music venues around the city.

In the post, Mr Carr said he hoped to share how the figures from offering live music stacked up, using a recent gig as an example.

He said 32 people turned up to the gig, excluding band members and staff, and that £505.83 was spent at the bar.

But he said the costs - including band fee, staff costs, stock, electricity and rent - totalled £836.55, leading to an overall loss for the day of £330.72.

He said: “So there you have it, I worked from 1pm to 7pm paid myself nothing and lost £330.72. Now if anyone thinks that putting on live music is easy for any venue in the city centre, think again.

“As a venue we do more than most to promote our live music on Sundays. This is just not sustainable for any business and is a real problem.”

He said that on the whole, Norwich had a thriving, and varied, music scene, and that there were plenty of gigs where he would make money.

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But he said, generally, not enough people attended events.

“It’s very simple maths and the solution in the end is for the public to support these events in large numbers spending enough over the bar to make live music viable and sustainable,” he said on the post.

Speaking later, he said there were many reasons why people might not go to a gig, but said money was usually the most common.

In the comments, Philip Cutter, from The Murderers pub in Norwich, said: “Compeltely agree... Same here at The Murderers.”

Mr Carr later said he had no plans to stop hosting gigs, and said: “It is absolutely worth keeping live music in the city. The venue I own has a long history of live music, going back 30 or 40 years.”

He said famous faces, including Ed Sheeran, had taken to the stage there.

It comes after the team at popular music venue the Brickmakers, on Sprowston Road, said they would be stepping down earlier this month.

It sparked disappointment among many in Norwich, and saw more than 16,000 people sign a petition to keep it open.

Ei Publican Partnerships, which owns the pub, said they were exploring “every opportunity” to keep the publicans at the site.

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