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Miles Kane, Eddie Izzard and Lucy Spraggan join campaign to save The Leadmill

By | Published on Friday 7 October 2022

The Leadmill

Miles Kane, Eddie Izzard and Lucy Spraggan have appeared alongside others in a new video supporting the current set-up of The Leadmill in Sheffield, as the venue’s management team continue to fight plans by landlord Electric Group to turf them out and install new management.

The existing Leadmill team announced in March that they had been given a deadline of a year to vacate the premises. Dominic Madden, CEO of Electric Group – which also operates London’s Electric Brixton, SWX in Bristol and NX in Newcastle – insisted that The Leadmill will “continue to operate as a special music venue” following the management changes.

But the venue’s current General Manager, Ian Lawlor, countered that The Leadmill as it is now absolutely will not continue to operate if he and he staff are forced to leave.

He said: “The Leadmill will not continue – The Leadmill is us, the staff and all the fixtures. We’ll take everything with us, because we own it – the fixtures, the equipment, the doors. When we leave it will be a derelict flour mill, and that’s what they will be left with. They’ll have to start from scratch, it will take them a year to get it up and running”.

Since going public with the news of the eviction, The Leadmill team have mounted a campaign to try to force the Electric Group to reverse its decision.

Initially they petitioned the government to suspend an element of the Landlord And Tenant Act pending an already planned review of those laws, a move they reckoned could halt the eviction proceedings. The government, however, knocked that request back.

Since then, the venue’s current team have continued to push the petition, attempting to get it up to 100,000 signatures, which could trigger a debate about it in Parliament. It has also campaigned hard to raise awareness of the importance of the venue in its current set up.

The newly published video features a range of people, including celebrities, local musicians, venue staff, organisations that use the space for accessible events, and music fans, all discussing why they think that The Leadmill should stay as it is.

Izzard, who played a number of shows in the venue earlier this year, says: “We can’t afford to lose The Leadmill. For me The Leadmill is an intrinsic part of Sheffield. For me, The Leadmill IS Sheffield and its creativity. It’s essentially [for] bands [but] it can be [for] comedy as well and it can be anything. I did Charles Dickens in here, I did ‘Great Expectations’. You can do anything in this space”.

Miles Kane adds: “It’s a landmark for the city, and so much great youth comes through it and new young talent, which is inspiring. It’s like your first sort of big gig and so important and it’s a mega vibe in there. You can hear the crowd out front, gets the hairs on the back of your neck and you’re like – ‘Yes’”.

Meanwhile, Spraggan says: “It’s got this feeling, this kind of like magical feeling to it. There’s not really any other venues that I can think of that have the same thing. It’s grassroots and it’s full of love in here, you can feel it the second you walk through the door. It means so much for the culture of Sheffield and it means good music, it means good times, it means good memories”.

“The Leadmill is a place that when you’re playing it, you’re at the beginning of something big, when you’re a new band and you’re up and coming, when you get to this level”, she goes on. “If we lose The Leadmill, we won’t get anything back that’s even remotely like this”.

You can sign the petition here and view the video in full here: