WestEndExtra

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‘Don’t dismiss clubland’ plea from Egg London owner amid fight to survive

Fears venue that opened opened 17 years ago may not make it through the coming months

18 December, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Hans Hess flanked by Egg London booker Gabriele Cutrano, left, and DJ Sven Vath

THE owner of a popular King’s Cross nightclub that has hosted some of the biggest names in dance music has warned the government not to “dismiss clubland” as it battles to survive the Covid crisis.

Hans Christian Hess, who helped set up Egg London in York Way almost two decades ago, told the Tribune this week that it was not certain that the club would make it through the coming months as he helped launch a crowdfunding effort.

The club has not yet received a share of the £1.57billion Arts Council funding the government announced earlier this year as a life support fund for venues that are culturally significant.

All pubs, restaurants, and theatres must stay shut under the Tier 3 restrictions now being enforced in London, but nightclubs had already faced one of the longest closures.

Since it opened 17 years ago, Egg London has provided a platform to thousands of artists and DJs such as Chase and Status, Justice and Miss Kittin.

“For the government to dismiss Clubland, it would be a tragic error as far as maintaining the economy and workforce is concerned,” Mr Hess said.

“We have been able to fight through until now but money is running short after a year of being shut. We couldn’t open. It wasn’t financially viable. We thought if we start opening then the amount of money we will owe will be astronomical.”

The club is looking to raise £200,000 to get it through to March when it could reopen if social distancing restrictions are eased. So far it has raised £20,000.

With door staff, events organisers, back office workers and performers, the club regularly employs between 150 and 200 people, according to Mr Hess.

He added: “We didn’t get any Arts Council funding but there will be another round so fingers cross. They couldn’t give money to everyone.

“We’ve got rent since March owed. We’re hoping to reopen in March. We might open before, but not sure. With the vaccine coming you just have to stick with it. We don’t know if we will make it, every day is good news then bad.”

Michael Kill chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which is supporting Egg’s campaign, said: “Cultural spaces like Egg London take years to cultivate and nurture, this amazing venue has stood the test of time, has continued its mantra of supporting grassroots electronic music, it must be recognised and supported through this difficult time, if not by government by its fans and the Industry.”

A government spokesman said: “Our £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund has already seen more than £1bn offered to arts, heritage and performance organisations to support them through the impact of the pandemic, protecting tens of thousands of creative jobs across the UK. We have acted quickly to support businesses with one of the most extensive packages of financial support in the world worth £280bn, including the extension of the furlough scheme, various loan schemes, a business rates holiday, VAT deferrals and grants of up to £3,000 a month for those required to close.”

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