Legendary punk venue 100 Club facing threat of closure

Soaring rental costs threaten to shut the London club

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Photo: Dean Chalkley

London concert venue the 100 Club is facing the threat of closure, its owners have admitted.

The basement venue on Oxford Street, which has seen performances from the likes of Oasis, David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Queens Of The Stone Age, could be shut down in a few months due to spiralling overhead costs.

The club was also the scene of one of the defining moments of the British punk movement, hosting a special two-day festival featuring the likes of the Sex Pistols and The Clash in September 1976.

Club owner Jeff Horton claims that his rates bill has hit £4,000 a month and landlord Lazari Investments have raised the rent by 45 per cent, setting it at £166,000 a year.

He said the 100 Club, which began life as a jazz venue and still caters heavily for the genre, could close before the end of the year unless a new buyer or sponsor is found.

"It makes me so angry," he told thisislondon.co.uk. "The government, Westminster council and even some of the commercial landlords say they want to help small businesses, they say they want to preserve London's uniqueness, they want to help multi-cultural venues. Yet we're all that and all these organisations have all dumped on us from a great height."

If the venue closes it will be the second to be shut down in the vicinity in recent years. At the turn of 2009, the nearby London Astoria was closed to make way for the Crossrail project, linking the centre of London to the east and west of the city. A replacement venue is promised after the work is completed, although music fans have argued the current plans are too small to replace the original venue.

"What the 100 Club needs is a buyer or major sponsor to step forward," Horton said. "Barring that, we're closing at Christmas despite being as popular as ever. It really is insane."

A Facebook group campaiging for the 100 Club's future has been established to rally fans.

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