— Steven Lawrence contributed with this article
At the end of September this year it was announced that the iconic 100 Club in London would potentially close its doors before the year is up. Living in reprehensible times in Britain where such an iconic venue is under threat from closure, perhaps this is the wake up call the music industry has needed.
Slowly the music venues that make Britain ‘Great’ are fading away, having lost The Cavern long ago, and both the Haçienda and London’s other iconic venue the Astoria, have been turned into urban precincts. The small, independent music venues of yesteryear that once provided musicians the space and opportunity to perfect and create their sound are dying out.
You may ask, why should this matter to me? This pattern of independent music venues closing leads to a significantly ambiguous future for bands of future generations.
The 100 Club, is a music venue of great importance which has seen artists both large and small enter through its doors since it opened in 1942.
The owners of the venue admitted that the 100 Club needs to raise £500,000 to avoid the threat of closure and the owners could then attempt to gain Heritage status.
Jim Piddington is the driving force of the Save The 100 Club campaign. He along with Tony Morrison set up savethe100club.co.uk, asking people to make donations to prevent this venue becoming another piece of musical history.
He said; “It is by far the most important venue in the country, if not the world. It oozes atmosphere, from the moment you walk down the stairs you can feel all those years of history flashing before your eyes.”
The campaign itself seeks to also prevent the odious pattern that faces future generations of bands. “We all want to save it so that young bands can get inspiration from the place, we want new young bands to want to play at the legendary 100 Club where their heroes got their first breaks.”
“The 100 Club is an English Institution.” says Piddington. The venue became formidable during the 1970s where a defining moment in music history occurred in the autumn of 1976. The 100 Club was host to the initial British punk movement, as it hosted a special two day event which would become so influential in British music to this day.
The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Buzzcocks, The Damned and Siouxsie And The Banshees all played their breakout gigs there. The astonishing list of bands that have played there continues, since this period The Rolling Stones played a secret show and it was a key venue for early Oasis and Suede gigs of the Britpop movement. Acts of today such as Gallows, The Horrors and The Libertines have also played there.
“Our plan, through this ground breaking initiative, is to raise enough capital through donations so that the Save The 100 Club campaign can buy and take over ownership of the club.
“The people who donated will become Members Of The 100 Club and will be invited to have their say on major decisions that the Board Of Trustees make. The club will be run as a non-profit organisation and therefore will be eligible for government funding such as from the Lottery fund and the Heritage fund.”
Week by week more and more musicians pledge their support to save the 100 Club such as Paul Weller, Liam Gallagher, and Sir Mick Jagger to just name a few. Although it is too late for The Cavern, the Haçienda and the Astoria, it isn’t too late to save this iconic venue.
There is only a handful of small, independent venues left in Britain so it is down to the fans to keep the heart of British music beating. This club is as pertinent to today’s music scene as ever. Future generations of bands will eventually hone their craft there and such venues are vital in a country with an atmosphere steeped in extraordinary musical talent.
Help save the future by preserving the past by pledging at savethe100club.co.uk.Tweet