Jun 10, 2024 2 min read

Critics say Halifax venue Piece Hall’s early entry cut off will harm local economy

Piece Hall in Halifax kicked off a series of outdoor shows last week, but critics say a new policy denying entry after 8pm is damaging to the local economy. The venue says the move is down to new security measures and that the gigs will provide “a multi-million pound boost” to nearby businesses

Critics say Halifax venue Piece Hall’s early entry cut off will harm local economy

Halifax’s Piece Hall has been criticised after ticket holders were told that they must enter the venue’s summer outdoor shows before 8pm. Organisers say this is due to security measures, but critics argue that the decision will have a negative impact on nearby businesses.

The Grade II listed Georgian hall will host 34 shows in its 6000 capacity grounds this summer, with artists including Bryan Adams, Underworld, Idles and Annie Mac among those set to perform. The series kicked off on Friday with a headline set from Blondie. 

Listings for shows state that doors open at 6pm and “last entry is at 8pm”, suggesting “arriving early to soak up the atmosphere”.

Speaking to the BBC, a spokesperson for the venue said that the 8pm cut off for entry was down to new security measures, including a single-file metal detector. “We have made some changes this year as part of our ongoing and continual measures to ensure our customers enjoy the best and safest experience at every show”, they said.

With 170,000 people attending the shows across the full series, critics say that in previous years the venue’s concert programme has provided a valuable boost for the local economy, with ticketholders eating and drinking in local bars and restaurants beforehand. However, they argue, the hard cut off for entry means that people will spend less time, or no time, with these businesses.

A press release last week trumpeted that Piece Hall’s gigs “will again deliver a multi-million pound boost for the local economy with many thousands of concert-goers coming to the shows from outside Yorkshire”.

However, this is unlikely to be the case, critics claim. One local man, Scott Downsborough told the Beeb, “The last gig I went to, all the bars in town were full beforehand. Making everyone leave the bars before 8pm is going to mean big losses for local businesses. And what about people who can’t get there for eight because of travel or work - or what if they simply do not want to get there so early before the headline act?”

Similar sized outdoor venue Dreamland in Margate began its summer series of shows this weekend too, with performances from Elbow and Rudimental. Although there was no early entry cut off, ticketholders there also complained about overzealous security measures, saying that they were unable to take in refillable water bottles or anything but a very small bag. 

Piece Hall’s shows are co-promoted by the Live Nation-owned Cuffe & Taylor. Live Nation also took a majority stake in Dreamland last year.

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