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Music charity boss says £2 million Beatles attraction is “pointless nonsense”

He said the band "weren’t inspired to be the Beatles because of a plectrum in a display case"

By Jen Thomas

The Beatles perform their Get Back video
The Beatles (Picture: Press).

On Thursday Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £2million budget for a new Beatles attraction in Liverpool, but the news has been slammed by a music charity boss.

Liverpool is already home to a Beatles Museum, as well as The Beatles Story, The Cavern Club and other landmarks.

Sunak said the new attraction, referred to as ‘The Pool’ would be placed on Liverpool’s Waterfront. The ambition is to inspire the next generation of musical talent.

There was a cheer from the House of Commons following the announcement, but the music industry has met the announcement with a muted response.

Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd called the plans “headline-grabbing, pointless nonsense” that will do “bugger all’ to help musicians or the industry.

He insisted The Beatles “weren’t inspired to be the Beatles because of a plectrum in a display case.”

Mr Davyd added the next big thing in music won’t be found thanks to “a semi-detached day out, gawping at history in exhibitions.”

He also hit out at the Government for letting music scene be “crippled” by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The music boss continued: “Stormzy didn’t start rapping because he saw an animatronic figure clutching a Rickenbacker, bouncing up and down on two fake legs.”

Davyd added that Liverpool “has a vibrant and thrilling culture of creativity”with “new music beating out of an under-lit and wonky stage delivered by the next generation of great artists from the city.”

“Its infrastructure of grassroots music venues, the places that actually inspired and developed the Beatles, is massively under-invested in, crippled by the Covid crisis, and in desperate need of support,” he said.

The Government said the new attraction will help the Liverpool City Region “develop a business case for a new Waterfront attraction celebrating the work and legacy of the Beatles, and consider future funding for this project subject to the business case.”

Mr Davyd argued it “doesn’t buy a single brick.”

He said it is “headline-grabbing, pointless nonsense that no-one needs or wants and [which] does precisely less than the sum of bugger all to support genuine creativity, eating up real money that could make a real difference.”

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said of The Beatles: ‘They came from humble backgrounds in Liverpool and went on to be the most important band in history, she explained.

“This funding will help unlock opportunities so that any child, no matter what corner of Liverpool they come from, or beyond, can become the next Lennon or McCartney.”

Liverpool’s Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said this attraction is “not a museum” but “an immersive experience”.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside: “Just like the government’s invested in Stratford upon Avon for the Shakespeare stuff… we think The Beatles are a huge global attraction for the UK, and we should have something of significance in the Liverpool city region.

“We want something other than just looking at old artefacts – you know, John Lennon’s underpants in a glass case – we want something that people will be attracted to.”

Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson says the new venue will “create a world-class visitor attraction, a blueprint for the future of music education but most importantly it will create opportunities and joy for the people of this city”.