Business News Deals Live Business

Rainbow Venues’ outdoor space taken over by MJR

By | Published on Tuesday 27 February 2018

Rainbow Venues

The outdoor venue previously operated by Birmingham’s Rainbow Venues, the Rainbow Arena, has been taken over by the MJR Group. The deal comes as the result of the ongoing fallout from Rainbow losing its licence last year.

MJR plans to rebrand the site the Digbeth Arena, with shows from James Arthur, Texas, The The and Garbage already scheduled for August and September. Rainbow Venues has meanwhile said that it plans to return to promoting shows around the UK, as Rainbow Events, suggesting that it may give up more of its venues in Birmingham.

Rainbow’s various venues have been closed since November last year, when Birmingham City Council revoked the company’s licence. The council’s decision came as the result of two drug-related deaths in the main Rainbow warehouse clubbing space. Eighteen year old Dylan Booth died at the venue in 2015, while nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event last year.

The club’s operators argued that they had extremely strict anti-drugs and security policies. However, they said that no one can “promise that drugs will not enter licensed premises”, while also pointing out that it was the drug users, not the venue, who had broken the law.

Rainbow has since launched a campaign calling for better drugs education, rather than having councils shut down clubs, which just pushes the problem elsewhere. It is also raising money in order to appeal the decision to revoke its licence, and has announced a festival to push its education agenda. That event is due to take place on the site that Rainbow has just given up on 29 Sep.

MJR’s Benjamin Newby says in a statement: “We are honoured and humbled to become part of the innovative and artistic hub that is Digbeth, Birmingham. We have already started developing great relationships with the business and creative community and look forward to what the future will bring. We recognise the dedicated and inspirational work Rainbow Venues have put into their venues and Digbeth as a whole”.

Commenting on the deal, Rainbow Venues founder Lee McDonald adds: “Our business will return full circle to the position from where we originally started. Working with emerging and established artists, bands and labels to produce extraordinary and memorable experiences for music fans and clubbers across the country under The Rainbow Events. We have a strong relationship with The MJR Group and could not be happier that they are the company taking the arena forward into the future”.

A growing concert promoter and venue operator, Bristol-based MJR already runs The Marble Factory in Bristol, The Engine Rooms in Southampton, Sub 89 and The Bowery District in Reading, and The Globe and The Tramshed in Cardiff.