Lost Evenings Become Last Evenings: The Final Night At Level III, Swindon

Lost Evenings Become Last Evenings: The Final Night At Level III, Swindon

By William Scott

Feb 7, 2018 7:56

There was probably a three minute gap before the availability for tickets to see Frank Turner at Level III in Swindon dropped from 100% to 0% when tickets went on sale back in December of 2017. This had the makings of a special show with Turner coming to play a venue he hadn’t frequented since his days in Million Dead. Saturday night in January with a packed crowd, a full support of local and national talent and Turner himself playing a selection of hits, surely nothing could dampen this.

That was until news broke that this was to be the last show at the venue, as the “team behind the venue have not been able to do enough to keep the doors open”. This is incredibly sad news for any local venue and a reflection of what appears to be happening, not just in Wiltshire, but all over the UK. Venues such as Thekla have been battling to keep punters coming through the doors and to put on fantastic live music night after night. While in the case of Level III it does not appear to be for reasons you would expect in 2018 (knocking down to build flats, new shopping centres, railways) it is another in a long line of closures that are affecting local music venues.

It is incredibly apt to have Turner play this “last evening” at the venue, as he is a dedicated supporter of the ‘Agent Of Change’ movement. The principle is basically that whoever moves into the area (developers, etc.) bears the cost for ensuring that noise complaints are handled. This small change could well be the principle that saves dozens of live music venues up and down the country, and is something Turner even appeared on Channel 5 news to talk about.

Lost Evenings Become Last Evenings: The Final Night At Level III, Swindon

Back in Level III the vibe is joyous, there is an incredibly long queue for the bar (which is great) and the atmosphere is more celebratory than melancholy. It is the lucky few in this room tonight that will see off this fantastic venue in great style. People have travelled from all over the UK to be here tonight and they are in for a special send off.

Turner plays a tremendous set with a mixture of classics, B-sides, singalongs and the odd cover. The beer is flowing, songs are being sung and there is a community atmosphere inside this packed out basement in Swindon town centre. It is atmosphere like tonight that needs to be preserved so that live music can continue developing bands like it has done. Almost every artist worth their salt started out in rooms like this, sleeping in corridors and munching on service station sandwiches. In order for bands to come through like they have done in previous years it is venues like Level III that need to be kept open to allow these bands to learn their trade and sharpen their skills.

Go check out the Music Venue Trust (http://musicvenuetrust.com/) to find ways that you can support your local venue. It is important and vital to keep these pubs, basements and clubs alive in order to ensure that the next generation have the best live acts available.