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and the owners of the venue raised £92,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, which saw the redevelopment plans withdrawn.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.
Hopkins hopes that the space will remain a music venue, given its 40 year history as such.
Dearest Supporters and live music lovers. We are very sad to inform you that after much number crunching and agonising, the Cellar closed it’s doors for the last time on 11th March. For more info click here https://t.co/741T8o0WCM pic.twitter.com/pMzjzIpDpk
— The Cellar (@CellarOxford) March 12, 2019
March may well see off two of Britain’s small venues, with the West End’s The Social facing rising rent and redevelopment threats.
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