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It is with a heavy heart that Castle Rock along with Gaz and Steph (managers) announce the closure of the Maze and Forest Tavern. Read on for more details, and check LeftLion for a special interview with Gaz and Steph.

Statement from Gaz and Steph at the Maze/Forest Tavern

It is with great sadness that we announce that the management and current owners will be leaving The Maze and therefore the venue will close this Summer.
This is a decision that has been made with a huge amount of thought and has not been an easy conclusion to come to.
We have been involved with The Maze for 15 years and have seen the venue grow from a well loved local pub with a part time music/function room to one of Nottingham’s most loved music venues with a national and international reputation. We have hosted a variety of events on a nightly basis and covered a wide range of genres, which has seen top bands, DJs and comedians perform here from around the globe.
However in recent years running a music venue and pub has become even more difficult and this combined with changes in personal circumstance, growing economic pressures and a need for new challenges has lead to us deciding now is the time for us to move on.

Those who know us, know our passion for music and that we pour every part of ourselves into the running of The Maze and we will continue to do this right until the last hurrah!
Sadly everything comes to an end and in an economy where over 60% of pubs have closed since we started, 70% of venues of this size have closed and we have seen a huge shift in drinking and going-out trends, we are extremely proud to have stayed afloat this long and to have brought many wonderful nights and events to Nottingham.

The Maze has been a life changing experience for all of us who have worked here as we know it has for many acts, promoters and customers and we will all sorely miss it. But, we desperately feel that we want to choose when we go and we want to give everyone a chance to say goodbye properly rather than see the place closed suddenly by other means.
This is why we are choosing now, to give you all a chance to celebrate with us and to commemorate what we, as a community, have done in this AMAZING little venue on the edge of town over the last 15 years.
Look out for some great events at The Maze in coming months, with some of our favourite acts back here as well as at lot of our most loved promoters to give everyone a chance to have some final parties and farewells.

We have many people to thank for helping make The Maze what is has been…
– Ben Brettell who came in and saved the venue in 2005 when it was already stripped out and about to go to re-developers. Without his tireless efforts and so much of his own money and energy, it wouldn’t have gotten back off the ground and continued into what it is today.
-Our wonderful staff over the years, that have so often gone above and beyond the call of duty.
-Some of the best promoters in the UK, who have risked their own cash to spent time and energy on bringing some amazing acts to The Maze.
-Our landlords Castle Rock Brewery, huge supporters of live music in Nottingham, they have kept our rent low and support high throughout the years.
-Every single one of the people that have performed in one way or another, reminding us of why we do it.
-And finally, our beautifully varied customers, many of whom have become dear friends. You have helped us to forge the environment and positive feel-good vibes that The Maze has held for so long.

We hope to continue to work with Castle Rock and a lot of the amazing people we have become associated with in the future to bring more music and of course all the brilliant bands (big and small) to Nottingham at other venues.

We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for helping us to create such a wonderful place to celebrate music, arts, culture and fun and we look forward to creating more of this with you in different ways in the future.
The team here has always believed in the music scene in Nottingham and we know ‘The Maze’ as an ethos and a vibe will continue even without the bricks and mortar.
The Maze is not just a building but an atmosphere and a love of music and good social vibes.

Viva la Maze!
Gaz, Steph and all The Maze team.

Statement from Castle Rock 

We’ve been proud to work with the Forest Tavern/the Maze and its tenants for so many years. It is with great sadness that today we announce the closure of the venue, as Gaz and Steph move on to pastures new.

Live music is extremely close to our hearts; fifteen years ago, the venue almost closed and it was our hope to see it thrive again. Thanks to the passion of the Maze team, the venue became an iconic, influential and deeply-loved hub of music in Nottingham.

We would like to stress that we will continue to work hard to bring performance to the city of Nottingham. This will include the variety of live gigs that take place in our pubs throughout the year, but also with our continued support of the Hockley Hustle and the Nottingham Poetry Festival, as well as our annual Yard Party, where we’ll be showcasing thirteen primarily local artists.

As a company, a city and most importantly a community, we would not want to lose Steph and Gaz’s talent for live music. We’re planning to work closely with them to help bring their eclectic music offering to the city, with events in the Old Cold Store already pencilled in for 2019, plus their immense help in curating our Yard Party line-up every year.

Our mutual friends over at LeftLion have done a special interview with Gaz and Steph, where you can find out about the history of the Maze while they’ve been there, and what you can expect from them in the coming months.

Before we leave you to share and mull over this news, we’d like to reiterate some of the messages that Gaz and Steph have made in their statement, which ring particularly true in today’s industry. The reality is that growing overheads – such as skyrocketing rates and utilities – are putting pressure on independent pubs more than ever before. We’ve all seen this in action in recent years, with the rate of venue closures growing exponentially. It is especially difficult to operate a live music amidst this climate, especially when you couple it with changing habits of drinking and music consumption.

We want to give our deepest thanks to Gaz and Steph for their running of the Maze and their support of the live music scene here in Nottingham. Their tireless work to bring some of the most interesting sounds to a little venue on Mansfield Road will be forever remembered. We also want to thank the thousands of music lovers who have frequented the venue over the years – your support was and is always appreciated.

In the meantime, let’s all make sure we get out there to support pubs and live music. The old saying ‘Use It Or Lose It’ is as important now as it ever was!

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