Coronavirus: The Beatles’ first venue at risk of closure in Liverpool

The Cavern Club in the North of England has been losing £30,000 a week since March

British music venue where the Beatles first performed faces closure

British music venue where the Beatles first performed faces closure
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Liverpool’s The Cavern Club, which helped launch local band The Beatles, is at risk of shutting down after losing £30,000 (Dh144,000) a week since closing over the coronavirus pandemic in March.

It was at the English club, which normally hosts around 800,000 visitors per year, that The Beatles made their first performance in 1961 while The Rolling Stones, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and Adele have also graced its stage.

Bill Heckle, a director of the club for nearly 30 years, said 20 employees had already been made redundant while another 20 were at risk, too.

"About seven months ago, you couldn't even think of a scenario where The Cavern wouldn't be successful – I actually said that," Mr Heckle told the BBC.

"We made a decision a few years ago to keep as much money in the bank as possible for a rainy day, not realising it was going to be a thunderstorm.

"So, we were sitting on £1.4m in the bank that has now been halved."

Even at 30 per cent capacity, the venue would still be losing money he said.

Its survival is now likely to rest on the UK government’s cultural recovery fund, which is focused on supporting organisations that previously were financially stable but are now at risk of imminent failure. Grants of at least £50,000 up to £3m will be available.

From August 27 to September 1 the club will reopen for a virtual Beatles week that allows customers back to enjoy pre-recorded performances from Beatles tribute acts.

"We know we're not going to make money," Mr Heckle said. "It's about really reminding people we're here and the sole aim is to get out the other side – I'm sure we will. But it is about survival."