More than 2,500 music fans sign petition in support of The Waterfront in Norwich

Paul Weller performs at The Waterfront. Paul Weller performs at The Waterfront.

Monday, March 24, 2014
6:30 AM

More than 2,500 music fans have signed a petition calling for people to support Norwich music venue The Waterfront, after managers revealed a “significant decline” in trade.

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The Norwich music venue is managed by the independent charity the Union of UEA Students, which is in the midst of a job-cutting restructuring.

The union is funded through a university grant of almost £500,000, and income from The Waterfront and its student services company.

But the union has posted what it described as “significant deficits for some years” and has started reorganising its staffing structure.

In relation to The Waterfront, Jim Dickinson, chief executive of the Union of UEA Students, said it only made a £14,000 profit last year and had seen “a significant decline in trade this year.”

He said changes needed to be made to “strengthen The Waterfront’s future prospects through more effective control of costs”.

Following our story about that, James Vivian, bassist with city-based alternative/rock band Enigma set up an on-line petition calling for people to sign to promote, support and show how the King Street venue means to Norwich.

The petition was only set up on Thursday, but more than 1,800 people have already signed it and left comments about what The Waterfront means to them.

Mr Vivian said: “It was intended just to raise a bit of awareness and I thought about 10 people would sign it, but it seems to have gone viral. Everyone was retweeting it.

“Being in a band myself, which has headlined and supported bands at The Waterfront, I know what that place means to people. I’m a regular there and have met so many people just from going to The Waterfront.

“It’s been really nice to see that it has struck a chord with so many people, with all the messages which have been left on the petition website.”

One of them was musician Howard Turner, from Melton Constable, who was involved in the Norwich Venue Campaign in the 1980s which led to The Waterfront opening.

He wrote: “I didn’t spend so much time and effort in the ‘80s helping create this, the first proper Norwich city venue for live music, for it to die a slow death! In these times of a resurgence of live music, The Waterfront is more important than ever.”

• You can view and sign the petition here.

Here’s what some of those who have signed the petition said about The Waterfront:

Kate Cox, from Norwich: “It’s a national heritage site...Nirvana played here in 1990 for goodness sake!”

Simon Webster, from Thursford: “So many unforgettable nights at the Waterfront: as a punter (opening night with 808 State in 1990 to name just one); to DJing (playing in 1992 on the same night as Prodigy, Orbital, The Shamen and Njoi is a massive highlight); and now as a promoter (Reunion with Jilted Generation and Slipmatt last year was a fantastic night). Long may this fantastic venue continue!”

Emma Lingwood, from Norwich: “The Waterfront is the only place I even consider for a night out. There is nowhere else like it and [it] would be greatly missed if it closed.”

Alison Bilyard, from Norwich: “It’s the basis of my student life. Seen so many awesome bands here, both as a student as still as an adult. Such a massive selection of bands and events and always such a FAB atmosphere. I remember seeing Paul Weller about twenty years ago and everyone in front of me letting me past (as I’m a shortie) until I was right at the front looking up at the great man!”

Jasmin Smith, from North Walsham: “This is my childhood, my gigs are important to me and The Waterfront gave them to me, most of my memories are here.”

• What do you think of The Waterfront? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

9 comments

  • If these 2,500 people on the petition had joined us at The waterfront more regularly, we would not need a petition to keep it open, it would be thriving as it used to.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • The Council should never have handed it to the Student Union in the first place. It would be interesting to know what financial arrangements are in place between them. This was a venue that existed only because of the Venue Campaign, and not just for the benefit of Students

    Report this comment

    Nick South

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • it's the only venue of it's size though, it has it's place it is just really rubbish at the moment. The old booking team at the student Union were a LOT better than the current lot, evidently. There used to be such a huge cross section of music across the Waterfront and LCR (and Arts Centre although not a UEA venue), Reggae, Punk, Metal, House club nights, Pop. Ska. What's going on now?

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Close it down !! Nothing lasts forever ! The City Council who are the freeholders can thendevelope the area for much needed housing

    Report this comment

    Albert Cooper

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Close it down , the place is rundown and looks a right dive nowaday , it seems people want to keep it , but don't want to use it ?? Some one got to pay for it ---- use it or loose ity

    Report this comment

    Norwich

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • As I said last time, the sound and ambience is terrible. Meltdown was atrocious 10 years ago, it's probably even worse now. You cant make money selling bad beer at £1.50 a pop. The waterfront is needed, but if it wants to increase audiences it needs to change. Better atmosphere, much better sound, better booking, bar prices that will make money. Right now the place is a dump and the worst place to go Saturday night.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Nothing wrong with a good tribute band, Gary Mullen etc can sell out stadiums these days and the music experience is briliant.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Ive seen as many complaints of how it is now . I love live music the more choice venues the beta. However gigs at dinnertime poor taste club nights , terrible service, mis managed. Initially was good to see music central rsther than go all way out to Uea with poor public transport links if wanted to drink not drive. Now theres Open and Epic even upgraded Brickmakers and Pubs like Bluberry where Waterfront been left behind. All of which sre trading at gig hours not just youth club ones. Open and Epic have additional options too. I fear that the amount needed to bring Waterfront up to par is too much add on its silly hours...then you begin to realise why other new venues flourishing and Waterfront is losing money.Sad I know.

    Report this comment

    Sion Holt

    Monday, March 24, 2014

  • Thats not fair N1ck, if the c0uncil were in charge you'd probably have bookings like bananarama, abba tribute acts and the tweenies every week on repeat. In the 90's and 00's the acts being booked were amazing, If you looked at listings for most other unions at the time they didn't come close! I went to uni somewhere else and we had none of what the UEA has, I used to come back for gigs.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Monday, March 24, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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