London’s legendary Jazz Cafe set to reopen after five months of closure

Could we start to see more of this as we adjust to life with COVID-19?

It feels like we’ve been writing about venue closures and event cancellations for some time now, so the news of London’s infamous Jazz Cafe reopening its doors is certainly welcome. From the 19 September, the venue will host double socially-distanced shows every Saturday and Sunday. Jazz Cafe has previously seen a wealth of electronic artists grace the stage, such as Madlib, Session Victim, Moses Boyd, Roy Davis Jr, Pete Rock, Romare and many, many more.

The Camden venue is one of the first to reopen and will operate seven days a week, although it won’t be quite the same as some remember. Instead, it will look more like the 1990 concept of the Jazz Cafe, with a seated layout, upstairs restaurant and table seating for drinks downstairs. Although the regulations in place may be out of the ordinary for us concert-goers, it may be a reality we have to face as other venues attempt to open. In the long run, the Jazz Cafe hopes it will “guarantee survival and support for artists, promoters, management, production crew, engineer, security, ticket staff, bar staff and other behind-the-scenes workers”.

Jazz Cafe’s initial run will see performances from Etta Bond, Sierra Band, Dele Sosimi & Friends, a night of Anime Film Soundtracks Performed by Stompy’s Playground String Ensemble, and much more.

Jazz Cafe

On the reopening, head booker Ruari Frew exclaims, “We’re still a long way off where we need to be, and it will be very difficult to operate financially but we owe it to all the people who make the live industry tick to give this a go. Our world is largely made up of freelancers, many of whom fell through the gaps of any government support. It’s crucial that we get as many people as possible working again in a safe environment. Although it’s not sustainable in the medium or long term, for now it’s exciting to have musicians on stage in front of an audience, engineers in booths and bar staff serving drinks again.”

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