Birmingham's The Rainbow Venues is appealing Birmingham City Council's decision to revoke the club's operating license following the death of a 19-year-old clubgoer.
The council made the decision on November 28th, following the death of 19-year-old clubgoer Michael Trueman, who died as a result of drugs he consumed at a Halloween event. It was the second drug-related death at the complex in the past two years. The Rainbow Venues today published a statement on Facebook in which it said it would appeal the council's decision. "We will have to flush 13 years of hard work graft and dedication down the toilet," the statement reads. The club said it would have to close down several affiliated business, including Spotlight, Mama Roux and Cafe Colette.
Here's The Rainbow Venues's statement in full:
First and foremost, the venue's thoughts of comfort and condolences are with the grieving family and friends for the tragic young loss of life.
From 2004 The Rainbow Venues in Birmingham has been promoting the nighttime economy and nighttime cultural offer. We have spearheaded the city's recent underground dance and commercial movement over 13 years ago. But it wasn't just about dance music—we incubated some of the UK's finest independent and creative talents, from street food to dance, to drama and live music.
We have been resurrecting redundant buildings and regenerating an area around Digbeth with creating and performing arts spaces. Showcasing new local and international talent, theatre, comedy, food and electronic music. Our aim was to make the night-time economy more inclusive and accessible. Its growth was organic and genuine: there were no outside investors, just hard work and dedication. Every penny that came in was reinvested into helping enhance Birmingham's nighttime economy and enhance our customers' experience. We progressed from a small Victorian Pub to multiple, multifunctional venues.
We believe the future economic success of Birmingham is dependent on the ability to both attract and retain talent. Whilst we have several great universities in Birmingham, many new graduates head straight for the bright lights of the capital. Part of our challenge to retain them should be a forward-thinking interesting city that values recreation arts and culture. Closing down venues that offer so much to the city is not going to help us achieve this.
We firmly believe that our team took great care, time and passion to create a safe environment for people to enjoy our events. We had very robust policies that West Midlands Police have accepted are more stringent than any other licensed premises in the country. As operators we can't be false. The decision is wrong. We can't pretend we agree, we can't promise that drugs will not enter licensed premises; people go to extreme lengths to get drugs into venues, if they succeed over the border, prisons and even parliament, then they will find a way into a club. They are breaking the law. Are we?
There is a global society issue, this won't be the last drug related death on licensed premises. We can't lie. We didn’t lie. This will happen again and again. There needs to be a universal, collaborative approach to the UK's drug problem. Let's educate and not be so quick to revoke licenses that practice the correct policies. Our time now will be spent trying to make a difference trying to encourage a sensible approach like Amsterdam, and even other councils and reasonable authorities in the UK, real talk is needed: NOT masking the problem.
As operators we refuse to work with this prehistoric attitude. This is a modern day problem. We need to wake up and work together collectively to make a difference or cost more lives. If the responsible authorities continue to shut down venues like The Rainbow, we will be pushing these events back underground. By doing this, there are no measures in place to protect people from harm.
The Rainbow Warehouse subsidised so many start up businesses, and has kept many of our non-profit venues alive. There is unfortunately a catastrophic consequence to The Rainbow Venues' pillar, The Rainbow Warehouse, losing its ability to trade. It subsidised many of our spaces and provided cash flow, so we could generate new ideas and finance people we believed in. The loss of this venue will ultimately lead to the demise and financial ruin of Spotlight, Mama Roux, Cafe Colette, The Arena and Digbeth Dining Club. We will have to flush 13 years of hard work graft and dedication down the toilet.
Some of the evidence provided in the hearing wasn’t factual. There was NOT a 15-year-old in The Rainbow Warehouse. We did NOT breach any of our licensing conditions.
On this basis we will be appealing.