Musicians and gig lovers have described the closure of one of the Blackpool’s most historic venues as a huge “loss for the local music scene”.
The Blue Room held its last live music night on Saturday, after facing struggles seen by independently run pubs in a recession.
The venue on Church Street, opposite the former Syndicate nightclub, was famed for the wide range of bands it put on and having been the birthplace of Blackpool FC.
Andy Daubney, who ran the venue from 2008, said: “It was a very hard decision for us to close, but we just could not financially continue anymore, we have put everything we can in making this work.”
Mr Daubney said trading was difficult due to the economic downturn and increasing costs, including rent of £60,000 per annum and expensive brewery prices.
He added he had approached Enterprise Inns, owner of the building, for support and had some discussions with the company.
He said: “We’ve been juggling it for 18 months until we ran out of money.
“It came to a point that it didn’t matter what you put on, because of overheads it was just not realistic or manageable.
“We asked for assistance and help financially dating back to October 2012 and in April stressed again how urgently this was needed.
“To date no deal was agreed.
“Although they did offer an external decoration in the coming months, this did not help our financial position.”
Robert Wynne, owner of West Coast Rock Cafe and The Rose and Crown and former tenant of The Blue Room, said he had seen Mr Daubney do all he could to keep the venue going.
He said: “In the last two years, with the recession and other things going on in that area of Blackpool, it’s got harder.
“That whole area, with Syndicate and Riley’s closing and The Tache being knocked down, it’s been really difficult.
“There’s not a huge residential population for people to walk there and it’s a very poor area.
“Andy’s tried so hard to make a success of it. He’s a talented guy, he’ll be back.”
Bands who played at the venue’s last gig said the venue was packed to the rafters.
Sam Cummins, of Blackpool band Karma Party, who were the last band on stage, said: “To be the band that closed the place was quite an honour.
“The atmosphere in there was amazing, it was packed out.”
Now musicians and fans fear the closure will spell the end of the alternative scene and opportunities for live local bands.
Paul Carolan, who had both performed in and watched gigs at the pub, said: “With the relocation of the Tache and the closure of the Blue Room the alternative scene is struggling to compete.”
And Sam added: “As far as the music scene in Blackpool goes; unless something new opens up, the Blue Room was the last live music venue really for local bands to play.
“A few years ago there was The Royal Oak in Poulton, The Edge, Jenx, The Tache and West Coast Rock Café all putting bands on every week.
“It seems as though the live music scene has died now the Blue Room has closed.”
Mr Wynne added: “It’ll be a big loss for the local music scene.”
A spokesman for Enterprise Inns, owners of the Blue Room, said: “We can confirm the Blue Room has temporarily closed following the publican’s decision to cease trading.
“We have been in ongoing discussions with the publican, providing support to help them build their business, and we will continue to work with them to seek a mutually satisfactory outcome.”
“We appreciate the Blue Room is a popular venue; we have been exploring ways to invest in the site and our aim is for the pub to resume trading as soon as possible.”
More than 100 years of music and memories
The Church Street venue has been a part of Blackpool’s pub and music scene for around 150 years.
It was originally known as The Stanley Arms, but became colloquially known as the Blue Room around the time it became popular with students.
Former tenant Robert Wynne, pictured left, took the decision to officially name the venue Blue Room in 2000.
As well as being the birthplace of the live music careers of some of Blackpool’s best loved bands and musicians – including Rae Morris and Karima Francis – the Blue Room is also, famously, the birthplace of Blackpool FC.
Of course, rumours also abound about other escapades to have gone in the venue. Andy Daubney said: “Rumour has it that Jimmy Hendrix was barred in the 60s after playing a show at the ABC.”