Many cities are having a tough go of it in their music venue landscape right now, but London’s has been particularly notable as it’s been caught between the competing pressures of the national government’s priorities and the city and its new mayor’s priorities. That combined with a multitude of outside forces has created an unstable landscape that, all in all, has not been in support of London’s nightlife cohort.
The big news of the past week has been the end of the ten year old Apple Music Festival (né iTunes Festival). This huge annual music event had been seeing a scaling back in recent years, and finally got the ax when Apple’s top brass decided it would rather spend its resources on generating more online content (Is Planet of the Apps a Netflix killer? Not likely.).
Elsewhere in the city, one of Kilburn’s beloved music venues, The Good Ship, is set to close next month after being squeezed by local authorities because of recent incidents, forcing them to close earlier and earlier. Unfortunately for the area, it’s otherwise kind of a dead zone for music venues, so the loss of The Good Ship will particularly sting, as venues now cluster in other areas of the city with more tourist traffic.
The club, which has been around since 2005, has been a proving ground of sorts for several acts that have gone on to international superstardom, like The xx, Kate Nash, Years & Years, and especially (as the venue so claims) Adele.
Another venue in Wandsworth is under threat of closure. The Sound Lounge, a nonprofit that opened earlier this year, is under threat from development interests on its block. It is currently collecting signatures on a petition to the local council to try and keep it open. It is still a good venue despite Adele never having visited.
On the bright side, Union Chapel is about to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The venue is unique not only for its location in a soaring, 140-year-old chapel, but also for being a “no alcohol” venue. Its stage has played host over the years to some legendary acts including, Bjork, Elton John, Tom Jones, and yes, Adele.
If you’re looking for a venue that is more… lubricated, the Foo Fighters are opening a pub to sell their stuff and probably their new album on Friday. No word on if Adele plans on attending.
So yeah, a huge festival closes, a couple of beloved independent music institutions are closing or are threatened, a venue that doesn’t serve beer is thriving, and the Foo Fighters are engaging in some hardcore capitalism. And a lot of places seems of define themselves by the one time Adele either did or didn’t show up.
One step forward, two steps back.
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