The Piece Hall: January - a time of planning and preparation!
By CEO of The Piece Hall Trust, Nicky Chance-Thompson MBE, DL
Here at The Piece Hall January is a time of planning, preparation, inspiration and intention setting, but more practically repairs and maintenance.
We close our historic gates on Mondays at the start of the year to give our hard-working tenants a bit of a breather, but mainly to complete works it is not possible to undertake with visitors on site. Our brilliant operations team are very busy.
We’re looking ahead to our biggest year of music yet in our beautiful courtyard in this really important Year of Culture in our amazing Borough. And we are rising to the challenge with our events calendar this year as we have so much to celebrate.
We kick off our biggest season yet with Blondie on Friday, June 7. What a front woman Debbie Harry is, a true trailblazer of the rock world. The band’s unique sound with its diverse influences from pop, punk, disco, funk and reggae is perfectly suited to our unique venue and stunning backdrop. What an opening show this will be.
There’s always more work to do when it comes to diversity in the world of gigs and festivals but I’m incredibly excited by the some of the icons headlining this year.
Joining Ms Harry on the line-up is the awe-inspiring Grace Jones. What a treat we are all in for, with her powerful voice and a back catalogue sounding just as fresh and relevant as it did back in the 70s and 80s.
We welcome the fantastic Sheryl Crowe. We all know and love her biggest hit, but this gifted singer songwriter has a total of nine Grammys under her belt!
One of my personal favourites is PJ Harvey and I can’t wait to see her. The only artist to win the prestigious Mercury Music Prize twice she has ten critically acclaimed albums to select material from.
And I can’t wait to hear the rich and soulful sounds of Jess Glynne’s voice in the courtyard. Jess made history by becoming the first British female solo artist to score seven number one singles and has now had more than 1.2 billion streams.
Our gigs are selling incredibly well, thanks to the quality of the shows at this stunning venue and the support of our many loyal fans it’s we way beyond the industry average.
But I recognise how tough things are for so much of the hospitality sector right now. We’re losing so many venues, some with amazing histories and great reputations but who have just not been able to make the numbers add up.
I wholly support calls for a reduction in VAT for the hospitality industry to help save our vital grass roots venues some of which are really struggling. Quite apart from their role in supporting emerging talent – if they go under, they won’t be paying any VAT at all – so I really hope this is on someone’s list of New Year’s resolutions.
As for mine? I’m resolving to immerse myself in things and surround myself with people who make me smile. The years come and go, but our journey is one way, and I’m moving forward with positivity and making the most of each magical moment.
And there aren’t many more magical moments than seeing your favourite artist performing your favourite song in your favourite location.