Coronavirus: St Albans' The Horn venue 'gobsmacked' at support

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image copyrightThe Horn
image captionThe Horn in Victoria Street, opened as The Horn of Plenty in the early 1970s, and quickly became known as a live music venue

Owners of a live music venue said they have been "gobsmacked" by support for a fundraising appeal set up in a bid to survive coronavirus restrictions.

The Horn in St Albans, which normally hosts about 80 acts per month, said it faced a "potentially very grave future".

Supported by acts including Paul Young and Enter Shikari, the appeal quickly shot up to £17,000.

Owner Adrian Bell said it had been a "massive boost" for staff.

"We are absolutely gobsmacked by the level of support. We can't thank people enough," he said.

image captionKim Wilde once worked behind the bar at the venue

The venue, in Victoria Street, opened as The Horn of Plenty in the early 1970s, and, run by managers including footballer and actor Vinnie Jones' mother, quickly became known for its live music.

BBC Radio 1's John Peel was a frequent customer and artists who kicked off careers there included Kim Wilde, who also worked behind the bar, Paul Young and the Q-Tips and more recently The Gallows, The Subways, Enter Shikari and Friendly Fires.

image captionPaul Young is among the people who have supported the appeal

Young, who first played there in 1976 with Streetband, said it "always had a reputation for being a wild place" but it had "just a naturally great hall for putting a band on".

"People wanted small venues, that was how bands got started," he said.

image copyrightThe Horn
image captionThe Horn faces a battle to survive financially during the coronavirus pandemic

Owner Adrian Bell said lockdown restrictions meant it faced "an unpredictable and potentially very grave future".

He has set up a £30,000 crowdfunding appeal but said if they could not successfully reopen, everyone would be refunded.

The venue is an estimated £54,000 in debt which includes a £32,000 VAT bill, backdated rent and utility bills.

image captionEnter Shikari are among the acts to have supported the venue

Mr Bell, who has been there for 20 years, said it did not qualify for a government grant.

He has applied for various government loans under the pandemic but they are "not a free handout" and must be repaid, he said.

"We rely on 200 people jumping up and down and enjoying music so we couldn't just reopen, even when we are allowed to, because of social distancing," he said.

"I don't envisage us going back to being a venue until sometime next year or a until a vaccine comes out."

image copyrightThe Horn
image captionOwner Adrian Bell said the support had been a "massive boost" for staff

The crowdfunder has been supported by those in the music industry, including David Bowie's guitarist, Reeves Gabrels, BBC Radio 6's Steve Lemacq, Billy Lunn from The Subways, and Paul Young.

Enter Shikari front man Rou Reynolds said it would be "incredibly sad" to lose the venue.

"It would be taking consistent live music out of the city and a massive part of the history [would be] uprooted," he said.

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