Rolling Stones legend backs live music venue threatened with closure
Bill Wyman says loss of the Roadhouse – which could be replaced by ‘an up-market large-scale restaurant’ – would be ‘devastating’
02 March, 2018 — By Tom Foot
Bill Wyman: ‘There are few places left in central London which champion up-and-coming live music, seven nights a week’. Photo: Jacco Barth
THE former bass guitarist of the Rolling Stones has swung behind a campaign to save one of Covent Garden’s oldest music venues.
Bill Wyman said it would be a “devastating loss” to live music if the Roadhouse in Jubilee Hall was to shut down.
Its owner says he is facing eviction by landlord Capco and fears the venue will be replaced by “an up-market large-scale restaurant”.
In a message of support, the Stones legend said: “The Roadhouse has been one of London’s best loved live music venues for the past 25 years. There are few places left in central London which champion up-and-coming live music, seven nights a week. It’s venues like the Roadhouse which give musicians the opportunity to play in front of live audiences. I myself have enjoyed playing at the
Roadhouse with my band the Rhythm Kings. To lose it would be a devastating loss for London’s live music scene.”
The venue has hosted more than 7,500 bands, musicians and artists including Womack and Womack, Billie Piper and Boney M.
A gig at the Roadhouse
Lease renewal talks have broken down, according to Mr Stein, who fears that he could be ousted by any large, up-market scheme.
Capco has submitted a planning application to develop the downstairs of the Jubilee Hall building and part of the Roadhouse building.
Mr Stein fears the plan is “to make space for more up-market brands and big chains”.
Thousands have signed a petition online and Amy Lamé, the Mayor of London’s “night czar”, has weighed in to the debate.
She said: “The Roadhouse is a Covent Garden institution. I would urge the landlord and developer to honour the Roadhouse’s valuable contribution to London’s life at night so that it can thrive in the West End for years to come.”
A spokeswoman for Capco said: “The lease relating to The Roadhouse nightclub has expired and we plan to redevelop the unit, significantly improving the space, including providing disabled access. We have been and remain in regular dialogue with The Roadhouse. We are currently going through the appropriate processes necessary to undertake redevelopment works.
“Capco Covent Garden is a responsible landlord and long term investor in the area. We are proud of our track record of stewardship of the neighbourhood, improving the experience for visitors, occupiers and residents. More than 100 new brands have been introduced and significant investment continues to be made in cleaning, security and environmental initiatives such as ongoing greening, air quality, and public realm improvements.”
To sign the petition visit: www.change.org/p/support-the-roadhouse-which-faces-eviction-by-property-developers