On Air Now

Non Stop Beyond

Midnight - 6:00am

Now Playing

Alfie Templeman

Hello Lonely

Morecambe music venue on track for 'magic break-even figure' just months after closure U-turn

The Platform in Morecambe

A Morecambe live music venue that bounced back from the threat of closure is on track to break even within two years - after previously running at a substantial loss.

Councillor Catherine Potter said the Platform is now more "commercially viable" just months after the popular concert venue was saved from a possible axe, and is heading for a "magic break-even figure" by 2025/26.

In November, Lancaster City Council said the Platform would remain under its control, changing its plans to stop funding the arts and live music venue from March 2024 due to losing £150,000 a year.

Councillor Potter, cabinet member for the visitor economy, community wealthbuilding and culture, this week told Beyond Radio "we have found savings and other changes that will completely reverse that".

She said she felt "confident" that half of the £150,000 loss would be saved in 2024/25 and the full amount by 2025/26.

"The Platform was already heading in the right direction in terms of financials and now it's all looking very positive," she said.

She said an internal restructure has saved money, as has a review of bar operations and cleaning services, and bringing in more bookings where the promoter pays hire costs rather than a profit-share agreement.

A Friends of the Platform group has been set up, which has more than 35 members, and will look to secure external funding to support the venue and provide volunteers for events under a new chair, David Morgan.

There are also plans for a membership scheme in future to raise more funds.

Councillor Potter (pictured below), in her annual report to the council, said: "Part-way through the year the decision was made to keep the Platform in-house but to make it more commercially viable in part through the establishment of a Friends group and membership scheme.

"The Platform, previously within the Sustainable Growth Service area has now been transferred to the Environment & Place team and is managed alongside the Storey and the Ashton Hall, bringing all our bookable venues under one team."

She said that 96 professional shows will have taken place by the end of the 2023/4 year at the Platform, with 16,872 tickets sold, 90 community bookings, two conferences and six festivals hosted (Food Future, Comic Con, Vegan Fair, Vintage by the Sea, Baylight and Catch the Wind kite festival).

She said "the people of Morecambe are delighted that the Platform continues to entertain us".

"Now that the Platform, Storey and Ashton Hall are all managed by the same team, supported by the council’s marketing function and with a very clear remit to be run as commercially as possible, I believe that this is a very exciting time for the venues, especially for conferences and national gatherings."

At a Lancaster City Council meeting last Wednesday, Councillor Potter was asked about bookings for shows at the Platform, which were paused for a time last year due to the uncertainty over the venue's future.

"The second half of 24/25 is as full as we would expect it to be," she said.

"The first half, because there was a little bit of a hiatus in taking bookings because of the question mark over the Platform's future, is somewhat quieter.

"What that means is that the year after, we will achieve that magic break-even figure."

The line-up of events for the Platform this year includes '60s band Herman's Hermits, The Real Thing, Chantel McGregor (pictured below), Lindisfarne, tributes to Roy Orbison, ZZ Top, Bon Jovi, The Eagles, Blondie, Elvis Presley, Iron Maiden, The Jam, The Drifters and Led Zeppelin, the Promenade Concert Orchestra, the 'A Splendid Day Out' steampunk festival, and the Gospel Bayfest.

Councillor Potter also said she was keen to explore establishing "some kind of Local Community Foundation to raise funds for culture, heritage, the arts and festivals".

"The enablement of culture and the arts is central to the function of a local council and we cannot see that diminished," she said.

The potential closure of the Platform was announced in February 2023 as part of £2.4m of Lancaster City Council budget cuts.

The council originally planned to stop operating the venue in October 2023 but this was extended to March 2024 after residents rallied against the plans, setting up petitions calling for the former railway station to stay open.

They had been in talks with three un-named third-party operators who were interested in taking over the running of the venue.

But then in November, the council announced their intention to keep the Platform in-house.

Councillors said at the time, that their new plans "should generate tens of thousands of pounds of additional revenue to safeguard the venue as the profile of Morecambe grows as a destination with the advent of the Eden Project".

Morecambe Visitor Information Centre, which was housed inside the Platform building, closed due to budget cuts in September 2023.

Read more: New 'Friends of Platform' and membership scheme announced as key to Morecambe venue staying open - Beyond Radio

More from Local News

Local Business Partners

Recently Played Songs