Deserted Coventry music venues get breath of new life through new project

A Coventry student has taken a creative approach to bringing back the magic of Coventry’s most loved music venues.

Ruby Nixon, 21, a photography student at Coventry University, spent much of last year taking photographs of some of the city’s iconic music and entertainment spaces.

Her efforts have culminated in a limited edition 2021 calendar, which features pictures of 12 Coventry gems, that sadly stood empty for most of 2020 due to the pandemic.

From the Kasbah to The Rialto, ‘Coventry Venues: A Year in the Live’ is a project that celebrates our music venues, and raises money for them at the same time.

Not only has Ms Nixon, an artist herself, used the project to raise funds for the venues, but she has worked to bring the local creative community together so they can support each other.

There are a select few calendars left, and 80% of the profits go to the venues that are featured .

“It started from thinking of more creative ways of marketing my business as a student” Ms Nixon told CoventryLive over the phone.

“It came from looking at the save our venues movement happening across the UK.

“I looked more into the Coventry venues because that’s where I live and I contacted a few of them to see if they were interested.

“It was really positive, people were excited to have some positivity as there has been so much worry with the closure of venues.

“All the people from the audience side of things too have been really positive as well also yeah it’s been an uplifting experience.”

21-year-old Ruby Nixon, a photography student at Coventry University, spent much of last year taking photographs of some of the city’s iconic music and entertainment spaces.

Ms Nixon, a third year photography student at Coventry University said she took a year out from her studies this year to focus on her freelance photography business.

But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, her business was also affected helping her relate to the hardships Coventry’s music venues and entertainment industry were also facing.

She wants the project to help “keep the music alive in Coventry” until we can go out and enjoy them again.

Venues featured:

  • The Tin, Canal Basin
  • The Box, Big Comfy Bookshop and ‘Just Dropped In’ record shop, Fargo Villag
  • Kasbah
  • Rialto Plaza, Coundon
  • Knights Bar, 2-Tone village
  • Archer’s, Coventry
  • Ziferblat, Coventry city centre
  • Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry city centre
  • The Golden Cross, Coventry city centre
  • Milk Vintage, Coventry city centre

If you have ever enjoyed a night out in one of these venues, or even if you are just a fan, the calendars are a great way of supporting them as they battle through the next lockdown.

Ms Nixon explained: “The idea came to me in September, I was worried [the calendars] wouldn’t make enough sales, but the buzz built over a couple of months, and I ended up raising around £1,093.

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“It was strange because I was talking to the owners and they had a few events socially distanced but it just wasn’t the same, live music is all about atmosphere, and it was sad to see the venues struggling.”

One of the local venues featured in the project, The Tin Music and Arts, said: “We are a true grassroots music venue, run for and by music lovers as well as the music playing community in Coventry. We’re really sad we’ve had to be closed for such a long time but are confident that come 2021, Coventry’s City of Culture year, we will be back bigger and better than ever!”

And how does Ruby feel about the coming months? “I’m hoping to work with venues and the local music scene as we go into the City of Culture.

“The vaccine has been really positive news and I’m hopeful that it will roll out in coming months and obviously we have the City of Culture in May. I’m really hopeful we will start to see events coming back to the city.

“I hope to see the community come together a bit more and the city celebrated this year.”

The calendar is £15 plus £1.99 p&p for buyers in the United Kingdom, 80% of all profits going to the featured local venues.

You can order them from Ruby Nixon’s website: https://rubynixonphotography.bigcartel.com/

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