The Leadmill, Sheffield’s oldest and most-beloved nightclub and live music venue, reopened its doors – sort of.
They are open again for the first time since their short, 5-week seated experience whilst Sheffield was under tier-two lockdown back in September last year.
Liam, a promoter for the venue, admitted that the last fourteen months have been “a really rough time, the start of the lockdown was devastating for us and the local community.”
Community is at the centre of The Leadmill’s ethos. When the general manager was made aware that local retailers were hiking prices of products such as selling toilet roll, they used their wholesale contacts to order large supplies and sold them to the local people at cost price.
Liam said of the move, “We saw so many people in need and shop owners were trying to capitalise on the fears of people to make some extra money. We knew we had an opportunity to give back to the community that has shown us so much love over the last forty years.”
That commitment to helping the community was immediately repaid when a Crowd Funder, set up as part of the Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurVenues Crowd Funder, raised £24,480. The campaign was set up to help prevent the closure of hundreds of independent music venues across the country.
Acts which have previously performed at The Leadmill also chipped in to help save the historic venue. Alex Turner, lead singer of Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys donated a guitar to the Music Venue Trust which fetched £128,544 at auction, of which £7,200 went The Leadmill to pay for staff wages, rent and operating costs.
Billy Bragg hosted a live streamed gig to raise further funds for the venue – amassing over £10,000 in donations during the day.
Liam and the rest of The Leadmill’s staff were ecstatic by the support shown. “The generosity of our customers has been mind-blowing. We care about our customers and it means everything to us – we’ll make it worth it for you all.”
After over a year without any consistent income The Leadmill was forced to get creative and turn the pavement in front of the venue into a beer garden for its grand opening on the 12th, in line with the government’s latest Covid-19 restrictions.
The area, which for over four decades has been the site of dozens of smoking, lovesick indie music fans, has been transformed into a vibrant, intimate and socially-distanced beer garden – much to the joy of its long-adoring fans.
Ben Armitage, a former Sheffield Hallam student, said: “We’ve all missed coming here, it’s the best place in Sheffield for nights out if you love independent music and it’s great to see that they’ve managed to stay on their feet.”
While the plan for The Leadmill is to focus on the indoor opening on May 17th and the grand re-opening on June 21st, Liam assured us “anything is possible at the moment, the beer garden has been an enormous success and we may bring it back for special occasions.
“We’re always pushing to be bigger and better, we missed out on our big 40th birthday celebrations last year so we’ll have to reorganise and properly celebrate that once everybody is back.”
The beer garden operates on a first come first served basis and is at 6 Leadmill Road, Sheffield S1 4SE.