The Nightingale and more LGBTQ+ nightlife in jeopardy as administrators readied

Credit: Visit Birmingham

The Nightingale. Credit: Google Earth

The fate of several of Birmingham’s best-known LGBTQIA+ venues and festivals hangs in the balance after its owners sought court protection from action from its creditors.

GB Holdings (UK) owns The Village Inn, one of Birmingham’s oldest LGBTQ+ spaces, and The Nightingale, which describes itself as “the heart of the city’s LGBTQIA+ nightlife and clubbing scene”.

The group also owns The Loft Bar & Kitchen, next to the Hippodrome, the Solihull Summer Fest, and the Paric Festival, the largest Irish music and culture event at Birmingham’s Irish Centre.

GB Holdings (UK) and The Nightingale (UK) have both filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, which is a process that prevents creditors from taking action for 10 days and is designed to give companies the space to secure a solution to their financial problems. GB Holdings (UK) is two months overdue filing its 2023 accounts and a compulsory strike-off notice was published on Tuesday by the Registrar of Companies.

Birmingham’s night-time economy adviser Lawrence Barton is described as the owner of GB Holdings (UK) on the company’s website although he does not have a majority shareholding and has not been a director for nearly five years. He is also a significant minority shareholder in The Nightingale (UK), but left the board in October 2022.

Barton is also a Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, a West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) leadership commissioner and a board member of Birmingham Southside BID. 

The Nightingale’s current directors are David Nash and Terence Runcorn. Both Nash and Runcorn are also part of the GB Holdings leadership team, with Nash looking over festivals and venues and Runcorn in charge of operations.

Update: A statement from Lawrence Barton, said: “Birmingham Pride is not for profit without share capital and is a separate entity to GB Holdings. Birmingham Pride is unaffected by GB Holdings.”

The original version of the article described GB Holdings (UK) as “the parent company of Birmingham Pride”.

This was because the homepage of GB Holdings (UK)’s website described the company as “a family-owned group of high performing businesses operating across the entertainment and hospitality sectors. These include three major music festivals…”. Elsewhere on the homepage under a heading “Our Festivals” it listed Birmingham Pride, Paric Festival, and Solihull Summer Fest.

After our article was published on Friday, and following further correspondence with, GB Holdings (UK) took its website offline and has since described the site as “defunct”.