‘Perfect storm’ of trouble hits Bath music studio ‘like a freight train’

A Bath music studio described being hit by a “perfect storm” of problems.

Daniel Flitcroft, 40, from Bath, runs Stage 2 Studio with a dedicated team, including his partner Sara-Jane Swettenham, who had to start a GoFundMe in order to save the space from a perilous situation.

More than £4,000 has now been raised and Mr Flitcroft said he was “blown away” by it.

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Mr Flitcroft said: “We are the bedrock of popular music in Bath. We are where bands start to form and that is so important.”

The 40-year-old explained that the sudden loss of an educational program called MASS records, which supported bands of all ages and abilities with mentorship, professional guidance and studio resources, left them very hard hit because it represented more than half of their activity and “was a great source of fulfillment and joy for all participants”.

His sudden loss put the studio space’s future “in jeopardy”.

Mr Flitcroft said: “A perfect Covid storm, exponential price rises and education cuts hit us like a freight train.

“We were heartbroken to have to pass this news along to the many bands and artists who were currently on the (MASS) program.

“I’ve made the decision to continue supporting these bands out of my own pocket so that they can at least benefit from an additional two months of studio time off.”

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Mr Flitcroft, who is an interpreter himself, said on the fundraising page: ‘We were also very fortunate that the William Cross Foundation stepped in and offered to provide additional funds to enable all these groups to use our check-in facilities.

“Working alongside the William Cross Foundation has been a blessing to us. It was created in memory of Will Cross by his parents when he sadly passed away a few years ago. Will was a popular part of the studio for many years. many years since he was a little boy and indeed we even named our new living room after him.

“But unfortunately we are still a long way from being safe. With the continued uncertainty with Covid our normal bookings took a huge hit. In December I took a slight hit to my pride and returned to retail to the first time in 20 years to do temporary Christmas work as the studio is almost completely dead.

“And yes, we tried to get grants from the Arts Council, on several occasions. We were refused.

“I’m optimistic by nature, but I’ll be honest, I’m starting to worry about our beautiful studio.

“I started Stage 2 Studios in 2009 after being made redundant from an office job in Bath.

“I continually reinvested and improved the facilities to the point where we are today, where we now host a superb list of artists who have recorded and rehearsed here.

“Among the likes of Phoxjaw, Seven Crowns, Yard Arms, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Mother Vulture, Sail, Noir, Meekers, Fangs of the Dodo, Setbacks, Kenisia, Hacksaw, Onslaught and many more.”

One of the studio spaces

The studio also runs a small label called Pale Wizard Records and cares deeply about making sure young people get into music.

Mr. Flitcroft continued: “Stage 2 Studios is a creative focal point for an extremely diverse range of individuals and groups throughout the South West region.

“As those who know me may know, I am very reluctant to beg for money. My preference has always been to work for my supper.

“Last year I made a fundraising CD to raise money just for my freelance staff, I didn’t keep any myself. Our other fundraiser was to replace equipment that had been stolen or damaged. Again, I didn’t keep any for the company itself.

“So, I’m asking you now. Would you please consider making a donation to our studio to help us through this incredibly difficult time?

“Hopefully if I can survive the next few months and things improve politically/economically, I won’t have to do this kind of thing again and the studio will go back to its normal funding system.

“Even if you can only afford a quid, every penny will be vital.

“Stage 2 Studios isn’t just my livelihood.

Daniel Flitcroft on stage
Daniel Flitcroft on stage

“Many people, engineers and freelancers rely on us for their work. But most importantly, we are here as a vital facility for the musical arts community in and around Bath.”

Mr Flitcroft said the £4,485 raised at the time of writing relieves “immediate pressure”, but there is still some way to go.

He said: “I’m just blown away by the amount and so grateful to everyone who donated.

“I hope the covid situation will ease and people will regain the confidence to go out. People are still worried about meeting other people.

“We had groups who hadn’t been in 18 months saying what a relief it was to be back, they were worried about it – we need them back.

“I’ve put a lot of my savings into the studio, but at some point I have to think about my kids.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has donated so far.”

To donate to the fundraiser, go here.