A music venue in Wrexham, North Wales, is being liquidated and has been forced to cancel all of its forthcoming shows.

The William Aston Hall by VMS Live, which is based on the Wrexham Glyndwr University campus, became insolvent because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The venue has been operated by the management company and promoter VMS Live (Wrexham) Ltd since 2018. Because of the pandemic restrictions, it has been closed since March 2020.

VMS Live Denied Problems Last October

In October 2020, the venue denied it was facing administration. In a statement, the company said: “William Aston Hall – Update: We have been made aware of a rumour that the William Aston Hall is going into administration. VMS Live (Wrexham) Ltd, who operates the William Aston Hall is neither in administration nor intending to go into administration. The misunderstanding was caused by an unauthorised message from our ticketing agent who has since apologised. 

“We are very much continuing to programme new shows and rearrange existing shows for a time when it is safe for us to reopen the venue safely. Stay safe and we hope to see you soon.”

VMS Live has, over the years, hosted many well-known acts, within music and comedy, including Slade, Hawkwind, Lulu, comedians Russell Kane and Jason Manford, and has been the venue for BBC1’s Question Time.

However, last year two other of the six companies operated by VMS Live Ltd were forced to enter administration.

Comedian Shocked by Gig Cancellation

Further rumours that the venue was in difficulty began circulating last month when comedian Jason Manford used social media to say his forthcoming appearance had been canceled without his consent or knowledge.

Using Twitter on 27 August, he said: “I just need to point out that I haven’t canceled Wrexham next week! I only found out myself this week! I’m trying to get to bottom of it.”

Acts due to perform at the venue in the coming weeks and months included comedians Jimmy Carr and Jack Dee as well as bands Scouting for Girls and The Charlatans.

A Glyndwr university spokesperson said: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been an incredibly difficult 16 months for the events industry. We are deeply saddened that VMS Live (Wrexham) Ltd, which are the venue operating company, has ceased trading and will be moving into liquidation.

“VMS Live (Wrexham) Ltd, have total responsibility and control over all performances and ticket sales and Wrexham Glyndwr University fully appreciate that customers who have purchased tickets for future shows (or those that have been postponed) will be anxious about this news. We advise those who have purchased tickets to contact their ticket provider directly for any information regarding refunds. Unfortunately, as the landlord for the William Aston Hall, the university does not have access to these agencies and is not in a position to process any refunds as no ticket sales have been transacted through us.

Entertainment Sector Remains in Jeopardy

Simon Renshaw, Director with Company Debt, comments: The entertainment sector remains in a perilous position. As yet,  there is still no certainty over the vaccine passport plan, with politicians seemingly unable to provide clarity – even if in Scotland, we know that the passports will be needed for certain events and what are deemed to be higher risk venues. Those in Scotland will need to double jabbed and it remains to be seen if this will be an effective move towards recovery or not.”

“Elsewhere and despite the country ‘opening up’, Covid-19 has certainly not gone away. There are still too many new cases and so plenty of people still feel some anxiety about being in enclosed spaces – such as concert halls and cinemas. This remains the case even if attempts are made to limit numbers and there is advice to wear a face mask. Unfortunately, slow ticket sales combined with the impact of many months of closure mean we are  highly likely to see more failures.”