Local musicians rally to save iconic Newcastle venue

Newcastle City Hall, one of the UK’s most legendary venues and a staple of the rock and pop touring circuit since the 1950s, is under threat of closure.

The Hall is owned by Newcastle City Council and its future is uncertain due to budget cuts.

Newcastle City Hall has played host to The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Led Zeppelin, Buddy Holly, The Eagles, Santana and thousands more. A large section of Don’t Look Back, the documentary about Bob Dylan’s controversial 1965 UK tour, was filmed backstage at the City Hall.

Save The City Hall, a four-song CD aimed at raising awareness of the potential fate facing the 85-year-old building has just been released by the North East All Stars and is alos available for download via iTunes.

Written and produced by former Lindisfarne member Steve Daggett, the title track features Tyneside musicians including Roxy Music drummer Paul Thompson, harmony trio Prelude and Lindisfarne vocalist Ray Jackson among others. Jackson has personally played the City Hall more than 100 times.

Other stars rallying behind the campaign include local boy Sting who spotlights the situation on the home page of his website.

An online petition (www.change.org/savenewcastlecityhall) has brought about expressions of support from many other music professionals far and wide.

Billy Bragg: “The Red Wedge gig at the City Hall in 1986 was amongst the most memorable of my career. What a shame it’s under threat.”

Chris Cowey (former producer of Top Of The Pops): “The City Hall is not only important for the people of Newcastle but the whole of the North East. The cultural and historical significance of this much-loved venue resonates well beyond the area.”

Steve Daggett (producer and musician): “I grew up watching music at the City Hall and ended up performing there 30-plus times. It’s a major part of Tyneside’s arts and music culture and it would be ridiculous to close it.”

Geoff Docherty (former promoter of Led Zeppelin, The Who, Free and hundreds of others): “A brilliant venue. Close it or sell it off to property speculators and you will be destroying something precious to the music heartbeat of the city.”

Ray Jackson (Lindisfarne): “The hall has great acoustics and an intimate atmosphere lacking in more modern venues.”

Ray Laidlaw (Lindisfarne): “The best gig in the land!”

Martin McAlloon (Prefab Sprout) ;”Newcastle City Hall is a cultural and regional icon. We loved playing the City Hall. The audience were always the ‘extra member’ of the band.”

Dave Stewart (Eurythmics): “Live music venues as good as the City Hall are rare. It’s essential to preserve these kinds of places that hold a community together.”

Baz Warne (The Stranglers): “I’ve played there and seen seen many of my heroes there too. A fantastic venue.”

-Classic Rock Magazine

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