Oxford venue The Cellar has closed

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Radiohead joined the campaign to keep The Cellar open

With The Cellar closing and London’s The Social in threat, Getintothis’ Will Truby reports on the fate on Britain’s small venues.

The Cellar in Oxford has after a long battle closed.

The East Oxford small grassroots venue faced closure first in 2017, when plans to convert the basement beneath the retail space upstairs were filed.

A petition to protect the Frewin Court venue garnered 13,000 signatures, and the owners of the venue raised £92,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, which saw the redevelopment plans withdrawn.

Support flooded in from Oxford locals Radiohead and Ride, with Philip Selway of Radiohead donating a signed snare drum towards the campaign. Gaz Coombes, Frank Turner, Steve Lamacq, Nadine Shah, Kiran Leonard and Jarvis Cocker all sent their support to the venue.

Celebrations were short lived though, as in June 2018 inspectors decided its fire escape was too small for the venue, and so their capacity was slashed from 150 to 60.

Negotiations over a rent deal ultimately closed the venue: “After months of negotiations, we would have loved to have been able to take the landlord’s final rent offer, but it came too late”, Manager Tim Hopkins said.

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Hopkins hopes that the space will remain a music venue, given its 40 year history as such.

It started life as The Dolly in 1979, owned by Hopkin’s father Adrian. It gave a home to local legends such as Supergrass, Foals and Radiohead.

They also gave Stornoway, The Cure and Pulled Apart By Horses their first gigs.

March may well see off two of Britain’s small venues, with the West End’s The Social facing rising rent and redevelopment threats.

The Little Portland Street venue has hosted a glistening list of music’s finest, including the Chemical Brothers, Wolf Alice, Aphex Twin, Florence + The Machine, Kate Tempest, Alt-J, and many more.

At point of writing, £47,000 of the £95,000 target has been raised. The deadline of the crowdfund is March 27. You can support it by following this link

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