Elbow's Guy Garvey says: ‘We are furious’.

We’ve said it before but it bears repeating: modern Manchester is a city built on music. Our musicians and bands are world-class and world-renowned. They are innovators, agitators and stadium fillers. 

The message to the council is: drop this and focus on making it the last time it happens to any music venue in our city

The grassroots scene here is essential for both homegrown talent and touring bands - virtually every band you love has at some point stood on the stage at Night & Day. Names like Elbow, Ed Sheeran, Wet Leg, Johnny Marr, Arctic Monkeys, Speech Debelle, Manic Street Preachers, My Chemical Romance, and James Bay are just the tip of the iceberg. A venue that has seen Manchester go from bust to boom and has stood firm, incubating musicians of all kinds and giving punters the best nights of their lives. God bless Night & Day.

Night And Day Front By Ben Smithson
Night & Day's iconic building Image: Ben Smithson

Music venues and our legendary nightlife scene are a big reason why people are flocking to study, work and live in Manchester. These things are pivotal to the success of our city.

So it is awful news that the beloved 250-capacity music venue yet again faces an uncertain future due to an (alleged) absolute fail on the part of developers and the Council.

It started with a noise complaint

Almost one year since receiving a noise abatement notice from Manchester City Council, the venue faces a court hearing. In case you missed the story last year, the issue began when a resident moved into an apartment next door to the venue during lockdown, when businesses in the Northern Quarter were shut down and the lively area, loved for its buzzing social scene was uncharacteristically quiet. When Night & Day reopened and began trading as it had done for the previous 30 years, a noise complaint was made by the resident. 

2018 04 26 Guy Garvey Credit Deirdre O’ Callaghan
Elbow's Guy Garvey is rightfully fuming about the situation Image: Deirdre O Callaghan

In a critical new development to the story and after receiving a copy of the planning file for the redevelopment of the building next door where the complainant lived, the owners of Night & Day were shocked to find that a crucial acoustic report had not been provided, nor had acoustic works been completed for the development before it was occupied. 

This was a condition of the planning consent for the conversion of the building next door, to ensure that residents were not disturbed by noise from pre-existing businesses in the area. 

Speaking on the latest development in the story, Guy Garvey from Elbow said: “This a shameful disgrace and we are furious. Manchester’s music and arts are things we all share and are rightfully proud of. The council and its politicians, its football teams and its universities all use our music in proud promotion.

 “Night & Day has taken hundreds of Manchester artists from bedrooms and garages to the world stage. The vibrant scene started by Night & Day triggered enormous redevelopment in what we now call the Northern Quarter and making all this happen is a constant bill to bill balancing act. That this corner stone of our city’s culture is under attack again is bewildering.” 

The Night And Day Café
Night & Day back in the day Image: Confidentials

A failure on the acoustic report

Owner Jennifer Smithson said: “We were one of the founding businesses in the development of the Northern Quarter, people wanted to move here because of vibrant, interesting places like Night & Day which is great and it’s really enhanced the area. 

“What is particularly galling is that the planning department knew about the potential for noise disturbance from Night & Day when it issued the planning consent to turn the warehouse next door into residential flats. A separate acoustic report was required to establish what could be done to prevent noise from Night & Day impacting residents of the building. However, no separate acoustic report was ever prepared by the developer and the planning department allowed the building to be occupied without suitable acoustic insulation works. 

“We now have to either accept the noise abatement notice, which will put us at risk of immediate prosecution in the event of noise complaints, or go to court at significant expense to appeal it. This could mean the end of Night & Day forever. It’s a nightmare.” 

2018 11 01 Jan Night Day Jan 2
Night & Day founder the late Jan Oldenburg Image: Confidentials

The beating heart of Manchester

Jennifer, daughter of the late founder of the venue and Manchester icon Jan Oldenburg who sadly passed away in 2018, faces an impossible task – to comply with the requirements of the abatement notice which would effectively ruin Night & Day’s business, or risk three days in court, which could mean closure and the end of the venue altogether. Something that absolutely should not happen.

“It’s just so unfair,” said Jennifer. “We believe that the fault lies squarely with Manchester City Council. They could cancel the noise abatement notice and rectify the problem that they originally caused, rather than close down a business that’s been the beating heart of the Manchester music scene for decades.” 

Kel The Empty Page At Night And Day Neil Winward
Even Confidentials Editor Kelly has played Night & Day with her band The Empty Page image: Neil Winward

Guy Garvey continued: “The council needs to drop this charge immediately and get this family business out from under the swinging anvil of closure for good. 

“There are many that consider the stress of this situation may have hastened our friend Jan’s early death and for his daughter’s family to be under that same stress for a second time on account of council fumbling ineptitude and can-kicking is unforgivable. 

“The message to the council is: drop this and focus on making it the last time it happens to any music venue in our city. To everyone else concerned I cannot stress enough that anger directed at the complainants is misdirected. This is the council’s problem. Please pour your energy into supporting the campaign to save Night & Day and in due course the national legislation to prevent this happening to any historic venue that has been nick-named Jan’s Law.” 

In response to these comments, a spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “It must be made explicitly clear from the outset that the Council has never threatened to close down this venue, nor is there any legislation which would allow a Noise Abatement Notice to be used to close a premises. 

"It is important to reiterate throughout this process extensive discussions have taken place to try and address the statutory noise nuisance which was the sole reason a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) was served. 

“The Council is, and remains, supportive of the music scene in Manchester which Night and Day has championed, but we have to comply with our duties in respect of statutory nuisance. It is also important to state that the source of complaints regarding this venue relate to very loud music played into the early hours of the morning and not live band performances. 

"The Council's planning records show that an acoustic report was provided during the development of surrounding units, and the Council completely rejects any suggestion that planning conditions were not met.

“The Council will continue to work towards an amicable resolution where the noise nuisance is fully addressed.” 

The date of the court hearing is the 29 November - 1 December 2022. Anyone wishing to support Night & Day can sign the petition to save the venue at change.org and follow #savenightandday on social media.

Follow Kelly on Instagram @keliseating and TikTok @kel.is.eating

Main image: the crowd at Slow Readers Club Night and Day by Ben Smithson

Read next: Our gig guide for Manchester: November 2022

Read again: Last thoughts on Jan Oldenburg: 'the Northern Quarter was born in Night and Day'

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