Glass Animals back Save the Sheaf Campaign

Glass Animals are the latest group to join the Save the Sheaf campaign as the UK’s live venues face closure as a result of the pandemic.

A campaign to save the last grassroots gig venue in Oxford has gained new momentum after the backing of indie band Glass Animals.

The Save the Sheaf campaign was created in response to the owners of The Wheatsheaf’s application to convert the first-floor gig venue into apartments. The application claims that the venue is ‘cramped’ and they ‘frequently received noise complaints’.

The Wheatsheaf stands down a small alley of High Street in Oxford City and is a popular venue for students and music-lovers in the city. Over the last 20 years, it has hosted some of the best-known bands to have been born in Oxford; Supergrass, Stornoway and winner of the Brit Award for Best Group in 2020, Foals, who played their first gig at this cultural centre.

In addition to its history of cultivating bands, the Wheatsheaf is also home to Oxford’s only jazz club, Spin (voted Best Live Jazz in the Parliamentary Jazz Awards in 2012), host to comedy nights and the RabidFest, a rock and metal festival that raises money for local causes.

Since the application was submitted, musicians, and music-lovers have banded together to prevent its success. The campaign’s Facebook page has amassed nearly 3,000 followers and the petition has over 2,400 signatures.

 

This article was originally written by Georgie Morley. ‘I’m Georgie and I’m currently studying History at the University of Oxford. I am passionate about social change, particularly intersectional feminism and climate justice, and I enjoy engaging in these issues through volunteering, campaigning and writing.’ Visit her LinkedIn here and view her Twitter page here.

Now, Glass Animals’ keyboard and bass player Edmund Irwin-Singer has urged ‘fans’ and Oxford residents to support the ‘very important’ cultural venue.

In a video produced for the campaign, Irwin-Singer describes the importance of the venue to the early days of the band and the concern they feel for the ‘threat’ it is currently facing as ‘one of the last ensues in the centre of Oxford.’

After the closure of The Cellar in 2019, despite support from band members from Pulp, Supergrass, and Radiohead, the Wheatsheaf is now the only grassroots gig venue in Oxford. Editor of Nightshift Ronan Munro claimed this attempt to close the Wheatsheaf is part of a ‘culture crisis’ in Oxford.

‘If we want the next Radiohead, Foals, Supergrass, Glass Animals, or Stornoway, we need the Wheatsheaf.’

 

This article was originally written by Georgie Morley. ‘I’m Georgie and I’m currently studying History at the University of Oxford. I am passionate about social change, particularly intersectional feminism and climate justice, and I enjoy engaging in these issues through volunteering, campaigning and writing.’ Visit her LinkedIn and view her Twitter.

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