THE JOINERS ARMS has stood for fifty years in Southampton’s Saint Marys Street. In 2018 the venue will be celebrating the milestone with a yearlong series of secret gigs. In recent years the 200 person capacity venue has struggled with the pressures of staying afloat in the age of online music, despite hosting bands like Oasis, Kasabian, Arctic Monkeys and other bands that have gone on to become massive festival headliners.
Manager Ricky Bates told us: “I started in 2011 and it’s been a struggle the whole time to keep [the Joiners] open.
“At its core, the internet has changed everything,” he continued.
The Joiners has faced closure a number of times in recent history, accumulating £30,000 worth of debt in the early 2010s. Hampshire local and outspoken Joiners fan, Frank Turner, played a series of benefit gigs to help the venue keep its doors open to the public.
“It’s a balancing act, every month we need to find £5,000 worth of profit just to keep the place going. And that’s before the staff get paid and the utility bills are paid. The running of the pub is a labour of love for everyone involved” Joiners diehard devotee Ricky Bates commented.
In recent weeks, similar venues across the country have gone under. The Beer Keller in Bristol and the Birmingham based clubs Rainbow and Flapper, which are all on the same band circuits as the Joiners, have all announced their closures. This stands as a stark reminder for the Joiners Arms that things could go south if there’s a bad run.
The Joiners has been at the heart of Southampton’s music scene for half a century but whether the venue will still be around by the end of the decade will remain to be seen.