Gigs at the Betsey are arranged by Plum Promotions, who also handle bookings for The Water Rats in King's Cross. Allan North, head of Plum Promotions, sent out this statement:
"As you may know, we’ve been running the Betsey Trotwood as a music venue for the last year or so, and in that time we’ve established it as one of the most popular little venues in town. It's far too small to ever make much money from, so running the Betsey has always been a labour of love. We’re involved because we think we can provide something that nowhere else can.
"It’s given us the opportunity to try out new bands that might otherwise not have been given a chance. It’s also been a place where we have run free demo workshops, book readings, film screenings and student photography exhibitions. We provide cheap accommodation for artists visiting from all over the world, and we’ve created a space that allows new music, film, comedy and photography to come together and develop. It’s not just a venue, it’s a resource, a focus for creative activity, and its something we’re passionate about.
"It seems not everyone sees it this way. A small number of people have registered complaints to the council because they consider us a nuisance. We haven’t broken any council regulations, but as a result of the complaints, the renewal of our music license has been suspended pending a Public Hearing. At this hearing, we have to put forward our case – that the venue has become an important part of the community, and that we’re willing to address the complaints that have been made. If successful, we will be able to keep the venue open. If we fail, it will be difficult to see a long term future for it.
"Running the Betsey has changed our whole approach to promotion. It’s allowed us to develop a sense of community, a sense of creativity, and a sense of belief that there is more to the work we do than just getting bands to bring loads of mates down to a gig. Those of you that have worked with us will know how much this means to us, and we want to continue. So we’re asking for your help.
"We are drafting a petition to present to the court at our hearing, to show the level of support we have to continue this project. Too many good venues have closed in the last few years already, so I hope you will be willing to receive a copy. To help us, you will need to get as many people as possible to sign it, and then return it to us. Obviously it helps if we can get high profile names to back us, but it doesn’t really matter if it's five people or fifty, whatever you can do will help. If you are willing, let us know, and we will send you a blank petition by email. It will be a simple statement regarding the reasons why we feel the venue should be allowed to continue as a place that gives new artists a break. If you like, you can pass it on to friends that might be willing to help too.
"If you have a show booked at the venue, please get in touch. There are ways around the problems, and we want to stay open as much as possible. Call if you like, but email is probably best as this mail is going out to a lot of people. The Water Rats, of course, continues to run as normal, we passed our yearly inspection with flying colours.
"Thanks in advance for your support. I suppose now is when we find out who our friends are."
On a personal note, the Betsey is one of the best venues I have ever been to. It has an atmosphere that you can't find anywhere else in town, it puts on fantastic small acts as well as intimate shows by larger artists, and also serves great beer! It really is too good a venue to lose, so if you can help by organising a petition, please email email@example.com. The website is www.plumpromotions.co.uk.