"I get a feeling from the walls and chairs, they tell me of the things that've always been there..."
ICONIC LONDON MUSIC VENUE TO CLOSE. CASH STRAPPED CLUB IN CRISIS.
Those are the headlines but how about...
100 CLUB SAVED BY MUSIC FANS or PEOPLE POWER SAVES FAMOUS VENUE.
They COULD be the news stories next week and you can be part of that story.
The world famous 100 Club in Oxford Street will close it's doors by Xmas unless WE can save it. Due to numerous reasons, the venue has become too big a burden for its present owner and fresh funding is desperately required. We are hoping to save the venue by raising £500,000 by the end of November with an innovative scheme which would secure the clubs future for ourselves and the next generations of music fans.
Last week, the Evening Standard ran a story about the imminent closure of the 100 Club. I was on Facebook when I first heard about this. The manager, Rob Ryan, of a young London band, The Craven Braves, had started a page for his friends, SAVE THE 100 CLUB", and news quickly spread. I joined the group when there were about 800 members, in a week there are over 10,000! I read many remarks such as, "this is an outrage" or "this can't happen" but no one seemed to be thinking of a solution. I therefore started my own Facebook page to raise cash for the club, "FRIENDS OF THE 100 CLUB", and in 4 days, I have had pledges from music fans all over the world, for donations of just over £30,000. However, I did not know the full extent of what was required until I was contacted by Jeff, the clubs owner.
The problem is, the business has not had any spare capital to plough back into it and thus it has been struggling along for the last few years. The reasons for raising £500,000 are listed here.
The current owner requires £250,000 to pay creditors and to sell the goodwill, merchandising rights and all other benefits of the brand, "The 100 Club". The current license has a late night policy which I understand would be virtually impossible to replace without 2 years trading if the club were to let this lapse. Jeff has run the business for 25 years but it has been in his family since 1964. However, the clause regarding remuneration for the 100 Club name and all of its copyrights, would not kick in until the goal of £500,000 has been reached.
The other £250,000 would be for working capital to ensure the club has sufficient funds to develop all aspects of the business and to bring it back to the cutting edge of live music in Central London.
Now for the interesting bit. If we are able to raise £500,000 through a capital raising exercise, the plan is to allow the club to remain open as a NON PROFIT ORGANISATION with its new owners being the donors. A board of Trustees would be democratically elected by the donors to run the venue. Your donation would entitle you to an equal say in these decisions, whether you are able to pay £10.00 or £10,000. The long term aim would be to raise further finance, not just from donors, but from Sponsorship, Merchandising Sales and hopefully funding from bodies like the Arts Council, The London Mayors Office and the National Lottery Heritage Trust.
The present owner feels that this is the way forward for several reasons. Firstly, there is unlimited potential for the membership scheme. He feels the number could, in time, reach 100,000 or more, all donating money to this ‘Trust’. Secondly, the branding potential is huge. There is still the core business of selling tickets or rents and bar takings to take into consideration too.
This campaign is about reaching the landmark £500,000 in the time scale mentioned. But what if it doesn’t? Well, then we will have to see what has come in. If we have amassed, for arguments sake, £200,000, then we know that there is a very good chance the goal will be reached, and we can extend the campaign, providing that part of the money raised (£42,000) can be used to pay for the following rental quarter for us to continue. That would be a decision to be made by you, the donors. But, if we have raised just £40,000 or so, the message to us will speak loud and clear, that the money we need will not be forthcoming, the money raised returned, and the club, and its name sold to whoever wants to buy it.
Musically, the ultimate ambition is to restore the venue as a place where new bands can develop and existing bands can continue to thrive. Who knows, the next Oasis or Rolling Stones may have their debut at a revitalised 100 Club?
In over 30 years of being a musician, I have seen venues like the Marquee, CBGB's and virtually the whole of the London pub circuit disappear and this countries reputation of new and exciting music is under threat because of these factors. Where are new bands going to play when the last venue has shut up shop? We need to be able to say in 10 years time, the music scene
in London and the UK is thriving, don't we?
This venue can be saved. Yes, it's a tall order but do we really need another Starbucks or Burger King in Oxford Street? Unfortunately, the only way this is going to happen is with a large injection of cash and that has to be pledged by 15th November if the club is to have any chance of survival.
PLEASE PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT. If we receive the promise of £500,000 by then, we would ask for donations to be paid into an independent bank account by 29th November at the latest. We would like a minimum donation of £10.00 but there is no limit above that. You can register your pledge ONLY at this site where you will also be updated as to the progress.
Thank you, Tony Morrison, Musician, London, 27th September, 2010.