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Another iconic London venue under threat

David Davies 28 September 2010

Rising costs could force the closure of central London concert venue the 100 Club, which has paid host to celebrated performances by Muddy Waters, Hugh Masekela, The Clash, Roy Harper and many more.

Responding to a report in the London Evening Standard (22 September) about the possible closure of the 100 Club in December, director Jeff Horton confirmed on the venue’s website that, “sadly, this is true.” He went on to document a series of cost pressures that could combine to bring the curtain down on one of the capital’s most enduring musical landmarks: “The writing has been on the wall, so to speak, since the rent increased by 45% in 2007. It was an increase that was unsustainable. Just as pertinent have been the increase year on year in Business Rates that have now reached a ludicrous level of  £1000 per week, and now the Government are increasing VAT to 20% from January. There have been over a dozen increases in duty on alcohol in the last two years or so as well, meaning that my supplier’s bills have increased some 40% in that period.”

Although acknowledging two previous concessions on the rent, Horton said it is clear that “that will not happen again” and that, subject to the identification of a sponsor, funding or buyer, the club will close at year’s end with losses of nearly £100,000 per year for the last three years.

The prospect of another live music venue disappearing from London’s streets has prompted a high-profile campaign to try and secure its future, encompassing a dedicated Facebook Group (link below) and a campaigning effort by the Musicians’ Union. Summing up the general mood, MU assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge commented: “This is yet another example of an extremely popular venue threatened with closure due to financial pressure. The club is as popular as ever and is a part of London’s heritage – it would be a travesty if it were to close. The MU will be campaigning to save the 100 Club and we urge all music fans to join us.”

With a heritage stretching back to 1942, the 100 Club has been at the epicentre of countless musical movements, from the trad jazz revival of the ‘50s, through the R&B/blues boom of the ‘60s, to the punk revolution of the late ‘70s. The house PA has also evolved over time and now revolves around a Turbosound TSE system, QSC power amplifiers, a Soundcraft Spirit Live4 Mk2 mixing console, and outboard from dbx, Lexicon and Behringer. Mics include fixtures from Shure, Sennheiser, beyerdynamic, Audio-Technica and AKG, while Technics’ turntables and mixer are also available.

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