The Rainbow Venues: Club fights back against closure with new campaign and festival


The Rainbow Venues via Google Street View

A Birmingham nightclub is fighting back against the City Council’s decision to shut them down in November.

The Rainbow Venues in Digbeth unveiled the ‘Educate Not Revocate’ campaign last night, in response to the the decision by Birmingham City Council to revoke their license.

Making an impassioned plea in a video posted on the campaign’s website, owner Lee McDonald says:

“If a drug that big can get taken in to a prison, can get smuggled across borders, and can go on aeroplanes, then we can’t always guarantee that we can successfully prevent all drugs from getting in the premises. If you can’t do it in prisons, you’re not going to be able to do in a nightclub”

The club are aiming to raise funds to appeal against the decision, which they say could cost “hundred of thousands of pounds”, and to continue to pay rent and independent suppliers.

As part of the campaign, merchandise and a festival planned for September have also been revealed. The Rainbow Venues claim that one of the objectives of the festival is “fighting and preventing the use of drug abuse through educational measures”, although at the time of publication the site doesn’t provide any additional information about how it plans to do this.

Photo of Michael Trueman

Michael Trueman


The club had their license revoked in November, following the death of 19-year old Michael Trueman, who is believed to have taken MDMA (a potent form of ecstasy) at their Halloween event. His was the second drug-related death in two years, after 18 year old Dylan Booth died after allegedly taking contaminated ecstasy at the venue’s New Year’s Eve event in 2015.

West Midlands Police called for the review in to the club’s licence after Trueman’s death, saying that the venue was now associated with “serious crime and disorder”. The club was also accused by police of allowing underage patrons inside the venue after a Snapchat video showing a fifteen year old boy reportedly “high as a kite” was brought to the police’s attention by a member of the public. This allegation was vehemently denied by the club and no further action was taken.

When contacted for comment, the drug policy lead for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner said:

“[The WMPCC are] following closely. Given that another young man has died there recently, it remains a very sensitive issue that needs careful thought, but we do not have a comment on that specific case.”

Birmingham Eastside has reached out to The Rainbow Venues for comment.

West Midlands Police and Birmingham City Council have declined to comment.

Click here to catch up on The Rainbow Venue’s controversial history.



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