Blog2010 ≫ Save the 100 Club?

Can you help raise half a million pounds?

Hey buddy can you spare half a million quid to save the 100 Club? There's a campaign1 to raise 500,000 to buy the venue and keep it running as a non profit, owned by the people who contribute the money. I'm not entirely sure about this, it's sad to see the venue go, but it's odd to be raising money to pay a private owner a quarter of a million just to stop them selling it to Starbucks or whoever. They do call it "the music business" and not "the music pleasure" I suppose...

I may pledge a small amount of money; if 100,000 other people really do then great. If they don't reach this critical mass then any money that is raised will get swallowed up in admin, and I suspect someone else will swoop in taking over the venue using up any of the good will.

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 it's 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 it's 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 Council2, The London Mayors Office3 and the National Lottery Heritage Trust4.

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 band 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.

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Paul Clarke's blog - I live in Hythe in the far South. Married + dad to two, I am a full stack web engineer, + I do js / Node, some ruby, other languages etc. I like pubs, parkrun, eating, home-automation + other diy jiggery-pokery, history, genealogy, Television, squirrels, pirates, lego, + TIME TRAVEL.