The Cavern – Liverpool’s “stage” to The Beatles – in danger of closing

The Cavern Club in Liverpool where The Beatles first played is in danger of closing.

In two years from 1961 the group made 292 appearances at the world-famous venue in Mathew Street.

It was their launch-pad to touring Hamburg and becoming the world’s most famous band.

However, the coronavirus pandemic has seen the club lay-off 20 staff – and further losses are expected.

It has been losing £30,000 a week since lockdown.

Liverpool has applied to the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund for help.

But the city’s Mayor Joe Anderson warned if the bid fails The Cavern will close.

He said:

“The fact that the world-famous Cavern could close forever because of Covid-19 should bring home to the Government how much our hugely treasured music industry is in peril.

“This virus has caused unimaginable pain and grief but it’s proving to be an existential threat to our cultural scene.

“The prospect of losing a national jewel like the Cavern is a horrible scenario for all concerned, be they Beatles fans, music lovers and above all those whose livelihoods depend on it.”

Club director Bill Heckle added:

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

“It’s a very vibrant part of the Liverpool economy, which is why we’re reaching out at the end of August and reopening the Cavern for a week, virtually and bands from all around the world have sent messages and recorded sets.

“We know we’re not going to make money; 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.”

The Cavern opened as a jazz club in 1957.

The Beatles’ first performance was in 1961 – the line up was John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison.

They were joined by Stuart Sutcliffe on bass and Pete Best on drums.

Sutcliffe, a key member of the group, died a year later aged 21.

Best was replaced on drums by Ringo Starr in 1962.

Brian Epstein first saw The Beatles play at The Cavern and offered to be their manager.





About the Author

Philip Braund spent 16 years at the Daily Mirror as a reporter and news editor before moving to ITV. He was the series producer of the ground-breaking investigation programme The Cook Report, Managing Editor at ITV's Millbank Studios, and Head of News at ITV Central. He has won national and regional Royal Television Society awards for documentaries.

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