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Richard Hawley has unveiled details of two shows to help support Sheffield’s Leadmill venue, which is at risk of closure.

These will be Hawley’s first headline shows at the Leadmill since 2005 and the announcement comes after news that the iconic Sheffield venue is under threat of closure.

Last month, the venue told music fans of the “devastating news that in one year’s time, our Landlord is trying to evict us, forcing us to close” – leading to an outpouring of upset and support from the music world.

Hawley, who had previously shared his support for the venue after the news was shared, said in a statement: “Richard first played the Leadmill in 1984 with his then band Treebound Story. In the following decades he has played the venue more times than probably any other musician. Now to our horror The Leadmill is under threat from new landlords who have issued eviction orders after 42 years.

“As a mark of support and love for this legendary and unique venue Richard is proud to announce two shows at The Leadmill…These will be his most intimate Sheffield shows in a long time, so we suggest setting your alarms to avoid disappointment.”

The shows will take place on August 8 and 9 tickets for the gigs go on sale at the Leadmill  on Wednesday, April 13 from 9am here.

Speaking to Yorkshire Post last week, Hawley paid tribute to the venue – recalling how he’s played there “hundreds of times” as a solo artist and during his time with The Longpigs and Treebound Story, before likening it to other iconic gig spaces in the UK.

“Basically it’s like our Cavern, it’s our Hacienda,” he said. “The thing about The Leadmill is it caters for human beings, it’s not like a niche thing. I saw the Stone Roses there – that’s where I met Mani from the Roses and we’ve become lifelong friends.

“The breadth (of artists who have appeared there) is staggering, just the nights that I personally have either seen or played, it’s my whole life. I’m 55 now and I think I played there first when I was about 16.”

The current bosses of The Leadmill denied their intentions to close the venue. Leaders of Electric Group, the company who bought the freehold for the site in March 2017, argued that they’d be removing the current management but keeping the building as a music venue after renovations.

However, the current management then hit back, arguing that they were being “exterminated by the landlord”.

“They are destroying our business by evicting us,” they said in a statement to NME. “They intend to profit from the goodwill and reputation built up over those 40 plus years. It is a cheap, shabby, sly and underhand way of doing business, by forcing companies to cease trading.”

“Millions of pounds have been spent by The Leadmill (not the Landlord) on the fabric of what was once a derelict building. It is the hard-working, dedicated and local family of staff that have put 42 years worth of their blood, sweat and tears into making it the cultural asset it is today. Without The Leadmill, the building we currently occupy would be nothing more than a derelict old flour mill.”

It also later emerged that Electric Group have registered for the trademark ‘Electric Sheffield’. A listing on the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office website shows that the application was filed by the Brixton-based company on February 3, 2022, for services relating to nightclubs, entertainment, live entertainment, hosting of musical events; Provision of live entertainment, as well as bar and restaurant services.

Many artists from the Sheffield music scene have spoken out in support of The Leadmill in recent week. Arctic Monkeys showed their support for the #WeCantLoseLeadmill campaign on Instagram, after the band helped raise over £100,000 for the venue to survive COVID closures last year by raffling off one of Alex Turner’s guitars.

Bring Me The Horizon‘s Oli Sykes also shared his support on Instagram. The frontman told followers how he saw cult Brit-rockers Hundred Reasons “at least 46 times” at the venue, before adding: “Don’t let it shutdown!”

Over the weekend, more figures from the scene including The Artic Monkey’s ex-tour manager and Sheffield locals spoke to NME about the closure.

They described the venue as “the cultural heart of our city” and urged bosses to not “rip it out”.

The post Richard Hawley announces shows to help support Sheffield Leadmill appeared first on NME.


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