Nambucca closes its doors – Music Venue Trust blames venue ownership

“Until we, the music community, Own Our Venues, we cannot properly protect them”

Nambucca, the Holloway Road, 300-capacity, grassroots venue closed its doors for the last time on May 14th. The latest in a sad line of closures was hit by pandemic-related financial issues. The live music arena provided a platform for many of the London nu-folk scene and had roots artists like Frank Turner, Marcus Mumford, and Beans on Toast performing regular slots.

The announcement came at the end of April on Instagram:

We have tried everything we can to keep Nambucca going, but the reality of the past few years have made it untenable, what with mounting bills coming from every direction. On a personal note I’ve been managing Nambucca for the past 8 years, which has been the most challenging 8 years of my career but without question the most enjoyable, as a venue we have been punching above our weight class for as long as I can remember, hosting incredible bands and fantastic gigs time after time.

I’d like to thank the team here for all their hard work over the years, without them none of those memories would have been possible. We do still have a few weeks left so let’s try to go out with a bang! I hope to see as many of you as possible before we finally close the doors next month, keep an eye on our socials for upcoming events.

The Music Venue Trust has issued the following statement:

“The possible loss of the iconic Nambucca grassroots music venue, which faces permanent closure on 14 May, is a terrible blow to the incredible team there, the musicians who built (and are still building) their careers there, and to London’s grassroots circuit and all Londoners who love live music. Music Venue Trust has discussed the challenges to the future of the venue with the Nambucca team. The truth is that in these circumstances it isn’t easy see a way to prevent the closure. We will try, that’s what we do.

Gentrification, development, noise, rent demands, excessive charges, poor working conditions, there are so many challenges. However. everything we deal with eventually comes back to the same core problem.

That problem is ownership.

Like 93% of the venues in the UK, this venue operator does not own the venue. If they did, Nambucca would not be closing. It’s that simple. All the other problems and challenges that grassroots music venues face eventually come back to this core point: No grassroots music venue in the UK is sustainable or resilient, no venue can have 100% confidence in its future, no venue can continue to support musicians and bring music to our communities for decades to come, unless the music venues are owned by people who want them to be music venues. If the music community wants grassroots music venues to be protected, to be secure, to be improved, to be everything they can be for the future of live music, then the music community must Own Our Venues.

Every single case of potential closure Music Venue Trust has dealt with in the last eight years comes back, eventually, to that point.

Until we, the music community, Own Our Venues, we cannot properly protect them.

So let’s do it. Let’s Own Our Venues.”

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