A STATEMENT FROM STAGE REGARDING ITS CLOSURE
There are so many questions and people assuming things, it’s best to try and answer some of it. The public should be aware that we are not trying to hide as there IS nothing to hide. So here is our statement:
The most difficult part of all of this is that there are so many people discussing matters on Facebook who think it’s ok to make assumptions and then to publicly scrutinise the closure of the venue and management’s conduct as a result of those assumptions. There seem to be a lot of people looking for some kind of sinister, ugly, fraudulent plot behind the whole thing – there isn’t one. We are a bunch of local people who wanted to do something good for the town. No it didn’t work out, but we nearly killed ourselves trying and can promise you that it’s far harder for all of US to let go of what we know was a good idea. There have been comments suggesting that no one here is prepared to take responsibility or that we are blaming the failure on someone else – this is simply not true. We take total responsibility for our business, we didn’t get it right, there were many things that should have been done better (not least of which is to have found more money for the project than we had because it clearly wasn’t enough). When we opened, we didn’t have enough money left to market the venue properly or get the bands in that we have access to. This was because the cost of building the venue overran. Contrary to numerous claims on here, we did not “waste all the money on a Funktion One sound system”, not a single penny was spent on the sound system because it belongs to Performance Sound & Light who are owed more money than ANYONE else and will not be paid a thing – so in effect, it has been lent the whole time! One of the main building firms that did a huge amount of work for us didn’t get paid at all and no one feels worse about that than us but you can’t pay what you simply don’t have, we would much preferred to have worked at paying it off but the choice has been taken away from us. The small amount of money we made on a select few events that turned a profit, went into paying our staff and the suppliers that kept us open while we looked for investors, that took all the money we had and that is where every penny has been spent.
After a long search we found investors for the venue but the only way that it would work for them was to close the company running it and start afresh – something none of us were comfortable with because, put simply, it’s unfair on those the old business owes money to. But when the option is either that or to shut down, what is best? We reluctantly went with the re-structure and the promise of the dream we all started with.
We lost one of the investors at the very last minute and therefore, as we were unable to pay the rent, the landlords – quite understandably – told us we would have to move out. We all believed everything would be fine until that last minute, there was no deceit, no plot or plan, no big pot of funds used for something else, no dishonesty and certainly nothing fraudulent going on. We love our town and want nothing more than to put together a quality entertainment scene that isn’t about getting drunk and falling out the door at 3am.
We tried really hard, we tried everything we could think of, but we admit we failed, it was no one else’s responsibility but ours that it failed. Please stop trying to find something terrible behind it all though, it’s simply a bunch of people trying to do good and not quite getting it right.
It is not legal for any person, director, shareholder, staff or otherwise, to pay off creditors of a business in liquidation as a deliberate preference. It’s an offence and carries very serious consequences. So if we can’t do that, then in the spirit of trying to show the public that we mean well and want to demonstrate that we didn’t want this to happen, we can at least try to do something about it by other means. We’re currently in discussions with a number of local venues to investigate the possibility of putting a number of concerts on for the people who have tickets. A few of these have already been provisionally agreed and we’re working on some more in order to put things right wherever we can. For the avoidance of any doubt, we will not make a penny out of this and will put any gigs on for free and at the very least, you know that the standard of what we do will be extremely high – the one thing that everyone agrees on is that the standard of our shows were amazing!
Give us time to try and get this to work and please PLEASE give us a little bit of a break. Our staff have not been disrespected or screwed over, (they will tell you that) they are a close knit family of great people who wanted this to work more than anyone, we are all extremely upset because our dream is over and some of the things being said on here are really hurtful, especially the stuff that simply isn’t true. So please give the allegations a rest. We are people who are passionate about music who wanted to do something good for the local scene, that’s all, nothing sinister, we are still trying and we won’t stop.