Although I grew up closer to the O2 arena in east London than to Chinnerys in Southend-on-Sea, this independent music venue will forever hold a special place in my heart. Essex may not have glowing reviews due to outdated stereotypes being perpetuated on our screens, but the one thing I am proud of is our local music venues.
Situated only 30 minutes by train from Fenchurch Street in London, this venue is a dream come true if you like independent music venues outside the hussle and bussle of a busy city. Chinnerys is along the promenade among the multiple arcades, fish and chip shops and gift shops. What makes it really spectacular though is that as you stand in line in the sunshine, you can look to your right and see the sea! If you need fresh air after moshing too hard, you can go outside and the sea will still be there!
Chinnerys has a long history of great music acts performing here before they become big, including: The 1975, Nothing But Thieves and The Milk. Of course, they do host bigger gigs for more established artists and despite only knowing the one song that everyone knows by Wheatus, I caught them at Chinnerys for £15! I must say, it was honestly such a fun gig, right in the heart of Essex.
Like The Brook in Southampton, Chinnerys is also a performance space for music students. I have frequented the venue on many occasions to support my friends from college as they perform what they had been working on for coursework. For £2 entry, I was able to see what my friends do best – put on a performance and learn the ropes of how to play to a crowd well. The money that was raised would go to the venue to help keep them running – nobody was making profit from it.
Venues like Chinnerys need our help to ensure that they are not only supported by music lovers, but are able to survive financially during and after COVID-19. Many venues across the UK are facing closure due to cuts from central government and the arts council thus having a devastating effect on many people’s lives. The UK continues to produce amazing artists who all had to start somewhere – closing down our venues irradiates that. Please help save our venues!