Rumours were brewing last week that the longstanding live music venue the Basement would be closing its doors for good after the Easter long weekend. Now the CBD venue, which hosted an intimate show from Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke on Saturday night – its last ever gig, has announced there’s truth to the news – but that they’re not being “kicked out” by owners AMP Capital.
Posting on the Basement’s Facebook page, the management team stated that they were “touched by the outpouring of support from artists, patrons and the general public” but that they “wanted to set the record straight” about the reasons behind their closure.
The outpour of support has fired action on the issue. John Graham MLC (convenor of Labor Loves Live Music), musician Danny G Felix, Live Music Office director John Wardle, Time Out Australia’s MD Michael Rodrigues and Sydney musicians will meet at 3.30pm outside Parliament on Thursday April 12 – armed with mirror balls and ukuleles – to call upon AMP to save the basement. A statement will be made in the Upper House of the NSW Parliament from 4pm, followed by drinks at Kittyhawk. Keen to get involved? The general public is invited to meet at Parliament at 3.30pm (BYO mirror balls and ukuleles) to show their support.
The post reads: “Last week the news went out that The Basement, located at 7 Macquarie Place, was likely to close in the coming week. As the management of The Basement we were touched by the outpouring of support from artists, patrons and the general public – we thank you.
We wanted to set the record straight around the reasons for this. There is no doubt that support for live music in Sydney has shifted over the years and we have worked with the property manager, AMP Capital for more than six months on a transition, mutually agreeing to end the lease ahead of its expiry. To be clear, the current premises no longer works for The Basement and AMP Capital has not kicked us out, but rather supported us during this change. AMP Capital has been a strong supporter of The Basement, our artists, patrons and live music in Sydney for over 10 years.
We appreciate the recent support from the public and the ongoing support from AMP Capital, who have continued to work with us over the past week to explore options for us to stay in the current space while we look at possible alternative venues for The Basement.
While we are thankful for that support, long-term it doesn’t make sense for us to continue in the current space as we are looking to find a permanent home and long term solution that is better suited to us. We are looking at a number of options so watch this space as we look to move The Basement into a new era and continue as one of the longest running live music venues in Sydney. All ticket holders will be contacted by Moshtix in the next few days for refunds or information on moved shows.
In the meantime we’d like to thank all the amazing artists who graced our stage, the hardworking promoters and agents for utilising the venue and most of all the passionate patrons who frequented the performances. There are far too many special memories to list here, we look forward to making new ones with you in the near future.
Thank you again for all your support, farewell for now.
The Management team at The Basement”
News first broke that the 46-year-old music venue would be closing down on Sunday March 25 when Sydney DJ Danny G Felix posted on his Facebook page that the weekly event the Monday Jam would be finishing up at the Macquarie Place venue on March 26.
Danny G Felix’s post was shared by Keep Sydney Open and various media, however the Basement had not confirmed the closure until now. Ticket holders for upcoming gigs such as Dami Im and Nina Simone the Other Woman will be contacted by Moshtix and refunded.
Over the years, the venue has amassed a reputation for supporting local and international artists with almost daily live music gigs. Neil Diamond, Dudley Moore and Prince have all performed at the venue, which relocated to its current site in 1992 after the original location in Circular Quay was demolished.
Nathan Farrell from Nathan Farrell Entertainment Pty Limited confirmed the Basement’s final gig was on Saturday. The venue officially closes its doors on Thursday April 5.
It’s sad to lose a custom-built performance venue with a capacity of up to 600 – and an all-important late-night trading license – however, we’re hoping the Basement finds new digs, as mentioned in their Facebook statement, so they can continue as a legendary live music venue into the future. We’ll watch this space.