London venue The Spitz fights closure threat1 May 2007
UK: Following the recent curtain-down at the Hammersmith Palais and speculation about the site currently occupied by the Astoria, The Spitz has become the latest live music venue in London to be confronted by a question mark over its long-term future. The operators of the eclectically-programmed facility have been given six months’ notice to quit, prompting a major campaign to try and safeguard its future, reports David Davies.
The Spitz in Shoreditch – which also houses a bar and bistro, and a gallery specialising in socially aware photo journalism – has evolved to become one of the UK’s most prominent non-mainstream music venues over its 12-year history. Ironically given its current predicament, the venue’s 2007 schedule looks like being one of its strongest yet, with plans for a trio of festivals dedicated to blues, country and folk.
However, the recently issued notice to quit received from landlord Ballymore Properties could see the venue close its doors for the last time in September.
Encouragingly for the operators, the campaign to save the venue has already attracted some high-profile supporters – not least singer/songwriter Beth Orton, who has played the venue on a number of occasions. “I am outraged to hear that The Spitz is in danger of closing,” she said. “In these days of bland, wholesale corporate homogenisation we need truly independent music venues like The Spitz more than ever.”
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has also expressed his concern, noting that the city he represents is “known around the world for its arts and entertainment, which is the reason why so many people come here. It has a strong reputation for a cutting edge and innovative music scene, which is nurtured by having a range of live venues where music can flourish. The Spitz is a unique venue which has enhanced the London music scene since it opened. If a classical music venue were under threat, the establishment would rightly be up in arms.”
Those wishing to add their support to the campaign can sign an online petition (link below) or make a donation via The Spitz website.