2020: A thank you
This blog post is a couple of days late due to all the excitement of our first ever full-length Livestream (catch the live recording on our YouTube channel) but as we take our first tentative steps in to 2021, it's a great time to look over the last year at The Queens Hall, and to say a heart-felt thank you to all those who have supported us over the last 12 months.
The year started with such momentum; firstly with our brand new car giveaway last January, followed by the roll-on-the-floor funny Del & Rodney dining experience, and then with Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band tearing the roof off at the end of February. These events were the start of huge plans we had laid out to push the Hall forward in to the new decade, but how things can change so quickly! By the end of March we were blindsided not only by the fire in the Cafe, but by the first nationwide Lockdown, from which we have yet to re-open fully for live events.
Since this abrupt closure over 9 months ago, the passionate support we've received is truly incredible and has fuelled our determination to keep going in what could have been the worst year in our 6 decade history. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of hundreds of people who shared and pledged to our Crowdfunder back in the Summer – the response to the campaign, the kind comments and the memories it envoked have at times been overwhelming, and realising the impact the Hall has had on so many people for so long stoked the fire in our bellies to keep going.
We also cannot thank the Music Venues Trust and our Welsh Co-ordinator Sam Dabb enough for their continued, hands-on support. Without their formidable and sustained nationwide advocacy campaign, the entire music venue landscape in Wales and the UK would already be decimated. Unfortunately, even with all their hard work the sector is still in strife with many venues on the absolute brink of closure (SAVE THE 30), but MVT have worked tirelessly to keep as many of us across the UK going as possible so THANK YOU from us all. We’d also like to send massive thanks the Creative Wales team for their advice and support in our Cultural Recovery Fund application, which has given us the breathing space we desperately needed so that we can get back to planning for the future.
We would also like to send out a huge thank you to some really incredible people in our community. Firstly, a huge shout-out goes to Sifu Crabtree and 9 students of the Lau Gar Kung Fu school who raised a whopping £2160 for us. The Tremendous Ten completed a sponsored 100k punches, knocking out 140k punches in just 7 days! Also a huge thank you to Wendy Meredith, who has worked tirelessly over the Christmas period to manage the Xmas Pop-up shop as well as Martin, Andrea, Sarah, Malcolm and Widge who gave their time to give local makers like themselves a place to sell their work as well as raise much-needed funds for the Hall.
Heartlfelt thanks also go out to our small but wonderful team of volunteers; Nina, Caroline, Julie & Geraldine, who were nominated for the PAVS Volunteer of the Year award, and who worked tirelessly to make, sew and donate thousands of pounds worth of masks on behalf the Hall. Thanks also go out to David & Margaret Norcross for donating the fabric and to the whole team, who came day in, day out to manage the track & trace system so that the markets, Christmas Fair and Record Fair could go ahead.
We would like to thank Robbie Burns and his team for their very hard work since March, KO Carpets, Currys, DFS, Hancock's and Bookers for all their donations, and Pure Tech Audio Visual for their ongoing assistance. We would also like to express our gratitude to Narberth Town Council and the Mayor Chris Walters, Cllr Vic Dennis, Gravells Kia Garage and PAVS for their active role in supporting the Hall.
Last but by no means least, we would also like to extend a very warm welcome to Louise Burdett, who is offering an abundance of workshops and space for creatives in Stwdio 1, as well as VIP Class Acts Musical Theatre and Tai Chi who are now offering classes alongside our long-time residents Lau Gar Kung Fu and Zumba, and finally the whole Foam team, who are bringing their incredible restaurant to The Queens Hall early this year, and who have some BIG plans for the future.
Finally, we would like to say that as awful as 2020 has been for the Hall after losing over 80% of our income, we have so much more to be excited about moving forward. We have just launched a brand new streaming series for 2021 including a collaboration with BBC Horizons for Independent Venues Week, and we have our Queens Hall Kids education YouTube channel in the pipeline, along with some pretty exciting local collaborations, bookings and reunions for later on in the year.
So one last time we would like to give a final MASSIVE thank you for all the support, there is no way we could have managed to keep going without the help we have recieved - so please do keep an eye out for what's coming next, here's to a bigger, better and brighter 2021