Fans of The Smiths and Morrissey have got Salford Lads Club. For Bee Gees fans it’s Co-op Funeral Care in Chorlton.
It’s where Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb first performed in public when it was The Gaumont cinema.
“Bee Gees fans from all over the world come to have their pictures taken outside – even though it’s a funeral home,” says Chris Peacock from volunteer group, Chorlton Community Land Trust.
They are campaigning to save the historic building, which will be 100 years old in 2020, from being sold off and turned into flats.
They want to convert the old cinema building into a market-style food hall with flexible scope to also be a performance space for live music and cinema nights. CCLT are also working with the local community health centre to bring forward a new GP Practice with potentially a gym, community space and some affordable housing on the site too.
The Stayin’ Alive campaign to save the venue and celebrate the Bee Gees’ heritage is getting support from fans around the world, as well as surviving Bee Gee Barry Gibb and his cousins, Hazel and Justine Gibb.
They have until this Saturday 9th November and want to raise £250k, of which £168k has already been raised.
“Time is critical to save this landmark building – we have just a few days left to persuade the Co-op to change course,” says Simon Hooton from CCLT. “It is an important part of Manchester’s historic music scene, so we want to preserve it and celebrate the world-famous Bee Gees and encourage more visitors to the area.”
The Bee Gees have sold more than 220 million records worldwide, making them the most successful band to come out of Manchester and one of the world’s best-selling bands of all time.
The Gibb brothers’ first band, The Rattlesnakes, made their live debut at The Gaumont, a stone’s throw from Oswald Road Primary School where they spent much of their school days – and down the road from where they lived at 51, Keppel Road in Chorlton before moving to neighbouring Whalley Rangeand emigrating to Australia.
Bees Gees Way was created in their honour in Redcliffe, Queensland, but there is very little to mark the band’s roots in the UK.
This is a one-off opportunity to help save an important historic building, put another destination on the Manchester music trail and help create a more vibrant Chorlton.