Music fans have been reeling at the closure of the venue at the forefront of Britain’s most cutting-edge music scene – the Black Swan in Bristol.

British provincial cities have long been powerhouses of musical innovation – Liverpool in the 60s and 80s, Manchester in the 70s and 88-93, Sheffield and Glasgow in the 80s and Bristol in the 90s and late ‘noughties’.

But in what appears to have been a deliberate ‘ambush’ by the city council, the Black Swan was closed with immediate effect under the new legislation while the owner was away for Christmas. News has reached Ravetalk that the venue has since lost its second appeal.

Shutting down the Black Swan at the end of 2009 is like closing the Cavern Club in 1963 or the Haçienda in 1989 – it’s as serious as that for underground music. Bristol had built on its earlier trip-hop scene, led by Massive Attack and Portishead, and become a world centre of jungle, drum&bass, IDM, breakcore, dubstep and more, with the Swan at the very hub.

Although the situation is looking grim, People Power could yet save the day. In the same spirit that got Rage Against The Machine to No 1 instead of Simon Cowell’s latest karaoke act, you can make a difference by letting the Bristol councillors know about the Black Swan’s cultural significance and the damage they are doing to the city and music as a whole by shutting it down.

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Remember to keep it polite and use your own words.

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