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Legendary North London venue Nambucca announces closure

The venue played an instrumental role in the capital's mid-noughties Indie scene and hosted early gigs from Laura Marling & Mumford & Sons

By Nick Reilly

The outside of London's Nambucca music venue
London's Nambucca has announced its closure (Picture: Google)

Nambucca, the North London venue which played an instrumental role in the capital’s mid-noughties indie scene, has announced its closure.

In a statement on Facebook, owners of the Holloway Road bar said that “mounting bills coming from every direction” have resulted in the decision to shut the venue’s doors for the final time on May 14th.

The intimate venue has previously hosted last minute gigs from The Libertines and also played an instrumental role in the early careers of artists such as Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons. Other acts to have played there include Frank Turner – who name-checks it on his 2007 track ‘The Ballad Of Me & My Friends’.

Confirming the closure, manager Giles Horne wrote on Facebook: ” 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.”

He added: “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.”

Responding to the closure, Turner wrote on Twitter: “This hurts my heart.”

Nambucca’s future was previously threatened when a fire broke out and gutted the venue in 2008, but it went on to reopen just over two years later.

A subsequent relaunch in 2014 saw shows from the likes of Wolf Alice, Fat White Family and The Wombats.

Responding to the closure, the UK’s Music Venue Trust 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.”

They went on to say that the venue’s closure is a result of its ownership, which they described as “the same core problem” facing similar venues.

“Like 93% of the venues in the UK, this venue operator does not own the venue. If they did, Nambucca would not be closing,” they said.

“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. “

Rolling Stone UK has contacted Nambucca for comment.