Girl in Bristol responds to recent news concerning the probable closure of The Fleece.
It is, of course, unsurprising that further flat developments are needed in the city of Bristol. When a place continues to astound and inspire with its whimsical ways and quirky assets, why would the people of the UK (and the world for that matter) not come running with their bags packed and enthusiasms high?
The Fleece is an integral part of this Bristol. Established in 1982, it is one of the forerunners of the Bristol music scene as it stands today. To the untrained eye, The Fleece may not appear anything special. Inside you will find no big screens nor extensive lighting desks. Outside you will see little more than a lone sheep hung upon a street corner with a wooden door situated nearby. But within, when the bands emerge and the music begins, that is where you will find the soul of The Fleece. It’s unapologetic, bold and relentless heart which beats to the sounds of samba drums, saxophone, guitar and melodica. Accompanied by lyrics which, in time, have come to be memorised and reiterated by millions. Muse, Jeff Buckley and The Killers to name a few musical legends who have walked The Fleece’s halls.
Silence these sounds and you shall silence the very essence of the Fleece. Owner Chris Sharp has brought back to Bristol, following the Fleece’s resurrection four years ago, a part of our culture we thought we had lost. And now, the people of Bristol continue to mark the Fleece’s re-emergence every day of the week, until 4am if necessary. And it usually is necessary!
There is no idolism of artists here. Simply, the Fleece is a place where the audiences and artists can come together to share in their love of music whether it be sweet folk melodies, sensuous reggae or frenzied rock rhythms. The music of the Fleece belongs to no specific category, and we love that.
Of course, should one have to be up for work at 6am the next morning, the sweet rhythms of a grunge music venue can quickly become mere noise. A persistent noise which will inevitably (and understandably) give rise to an aggravated mentality within a sleep-deprived individual residing nearby. Build a block of 80 privately owned flats within 20 meters of such a venue and such issues will undoubtedly occur. The noise complaints, the anger, the impending battle between music venue and residents so easily avoidable if just a little consideration is given beforehand.
By all means we should make efforts to build new accommodation. New minds and new faces are always welcome here. But with so many derelict buildings to choose from why not build accommodation in a place where the individuals moving in can appreciate Bristol in all its splendour without the risk of music venues such as the Fleece having to close?
Compromise Bristol’s prolific and infamous music scene and you compromise Bristol itself.
Save the Fleece and sign the petition.