Frank Turner is set to headline tonight’s sold-out “final party” (May 13) at London’s much-loved Nambucca venue.
The 300-capacity north London venue, which has played host to early gigs by the likes of The Libertines, Florence + The Machine and Wolf Alice, is set to close its doors for good after this weekend, despite “trying everything we can to keep Nambucca going” following the COVID-19-enforced shutdown of live music.
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Speaking to NME this week about its closure, Nambucca’s general manager Giles Horne said: “It would be great if venues could be owned by venues and run as venues, and less tied to beer sales, which make things even less profitable. I just hope that someone buys Nambucca and continues to keep it as a venue.”
Turner will headline Nambucca’s sold-out “final party” tonight, with ticket sales going towards “helping out Giles and his team at the venue initially” before “any excess will go to the Music Venue Trust to help them in their fight to stop this happening to any more places around the country”.
Writing in a post on his social media channels yesterday (May 12), Turner recalled his fond memories of his “spiritual home”.
“The venue has seen ups and downs, fires, rebuilding, parties, gigs, legends, newcomers, everything under the sun, in the last 20 years,” Turner wrote about Nambucca. “My entire solo career began there, learning and playing songs and making friends.
“The list of people who’ve graced the stage is insane – Jamie T, Laura Marling, Mumford, Babyshambles, Example, Beans On Toast, The Holloways, Wolf Alice, Florence + The Machine… it goes on. Rooms like this made us who we are today.”
The black letter day has finally come…Nambucca has been my spiritual home since Dave and Jay first set up there back…
Turner said that he was “pretty heartbroken” about Nambucca’s closure, but that he “couldn’t let the old girl go down without something to mark the occasion”.
Promising that tonight’s event will be “one last old-school party”, Turner confirmed that he will be playing a headline solo set featuring songs that he wrote and played “on that hallowed stage many years ago”.
“The legendary BLESS (formerly The Supernovas), house band at the venue forever, will be playing,” he continued about tonight’s bill. “Adam Killip of the Tailors (the man that changed my entire musical direction on the roof in 2004) will be playing old favourites. And Gerry Del-Guercio of Six Nation State will be opening proceedings. In between bands we have Dave and Bryn from The Holloways and former Nambucca resident Ally Wolf on the decks playing the classics.
“We will also have Matt Axe doing tattoos out back for anyone wanting to mark the occasion permanently. I know I will.”
Turner signed off by saying: “Get down to Holloway tomorrow night, dress your best and brace yourself for the final Nambucca show. Fair warning: I am going to cry. See you there.”
We are absolutely honoured, and absolutely couldn’t ask for a more suitable way to say goodbye to the venue we’ve loved…
In a post on their social media channels, Nambucca replied to Turner: “We are absolutely honoured, and absolutely couldn’t ask for a more suitable way to say goodbye to the venue we’ve loved and laboured over for all these years!”
Asked about his hopes for the fate of other grassroots music venues in the UK, Nambucca’s Horne told NME: “I think venues will find a way to continue. They’re too important not to and there are too many people that are passionate about keeping them open.
“It is hard work. For young bands and musicians it’s more challenging. I’ve been lucky to see so many amazing bands, but they just won’t get the exposure that they need without these venues. We need to keep all of these different scenes alive.”