Legendary London venue Nambucca is closing
“We have tried everything we can to keep Nambucca going”
Legendary London venue Nambucca is closing in May, it was announced today (April 26).
- READ MORE: If Sheffield’s Leadmill – the venue that helped break Arctic Monkeys – closes, we all lose something
This Holloway Road, 300-capacity venue played hosts to acts including Frank Turner, Florence & The Machine and The Libertines in the early noughties and has been a champion of up and coming new acts over the years.
In a statement posted to social media, the venue said: “It is with deep sadness that we are announcing that Nambucca will be closing its doors on the 14th May.
“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.”
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The Music Venue Trust later issued a statement about the closure. They said: “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.”
MVT Statement on the Closure and Permanent Loss of @Nambucca_Live #THREAD
The possible loss of the iconic Nambucca grassroots music venue, which faces permanent closure on 14 May, is a terrible blow to Giles and the incredible team there.. pic.twitter.com/sErz2nduZA
— Music Venue Trust (@musicvenuetrust) April 26, 2022
The statement continued: “Like 93 per cent 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.”
Musicians have been reacting to the news on social media, including Frank Turner who wrote: “This hurts my heart”.
You can see some more reaction to the news below:
This hurts my heart. https://t.co/sP2WzFDRm0
— Frank Turner (@frankturner) April 26, 2022
@Nambucca_Live hosted a bunch of my early shows back in the day. A proper welcoming, home from home for a green wee guy on tour for the first time. https://t.co/2o5GIvMANT
— Kenny (@Kenny_Leckie) April 26, 2022
Frank Turner, Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, The Vaccines, Wolf Alice, The Wombats, all came through Nambucca before they made it big. This is just one of so many independent venues closing down. So sad. https://t.co/tLIvJb2zon
— Stephen D (@StephenEamonn) April 26, 2022
This news comes amid a campaign launched to save the London pub The Ravensbourne Arms and convert it into a community-owned live music venue for all ages – marking one of many attempts to put gig spaces in the hands of music fans rather than private landlords.
The Lewisham pub has been boarded up for four years, but now the collective Sister Midnight have launched a bid to raise £500,000 – offering fans in the community the opportunity to hold a stake in what would be a not-for-profit grassroots live music pub.
So far, the campaign has received support from the likes of Fontaines D.C., Porridge Radio, Goat Girl, London Night Czar and DJ Amy Lame and Jools Holland among many others, hoping to see the building transformed into a “safe, inclusive, all-day space that puts the local community – the entire community, in all its glorious forms – at the heart of everything they do”.
Artists from the Sheffield music scene have also been voiced their support for local venue The Leadmill, another venue that is also facing closure.
Last month, the iconic Sheffield venue and club told music fans of the “devastating news that in one year’s time, our Landlord is trying to evict us, forcing us to close” – leading to an outpouring of upset and support from the music world.
Arctic Monkeys showed their support for the #WeCantLoseLeadmill campaign on Instagram, after the band helped raise over £100,000 for the venue to survive COVID closures last year by raffling off one of Alex Turner‘s guitars.
Bring Me The Horizon‘s Oli Sykes also shared his support on Instagram. The frontman told followers how he saw cult Brit-rockers Hundred Reasons “at least 46 times” at the venue, before adding: “Don’t let it shutdown!”
Speaking to Yorkshire Post, Richard Hawley also paid tribute to the venue – recalling how he’s played there “hundreds of times” as a solo artist and during his time with The Longpigs and Treebound Story, before likening it to other iconic gig spaces in the UK.
Hawley is also performing gigs at the Leadmill this summer to help raise funds for its continuation.