APRIL 2017 | Pioneering Classical Music Venue Closes its DoorsAPRIL 2017 | Pioneering Classical Music Venue Closes its Doors
By HELEN GLAISHER-HERNANDEZ
The 31st March 2017 was a dark day indeed for London's classical music scene, as The Forge Venue, located in Delancey Street, just off Camden High Street in NW1, closed its doors for the very last time.
After eight years in operation, the Forge held its final-ever event on Friday, featuring the salsa band Conjunto Sabroso as part of its popular 'Cuban Jam' series.
The venue was the visionary enterprise of young entrepreneurs Adam and Charlotte Caird, who offered up-and-coming artists (including classical musicians) a much-needed platform in a city where most major classical venues are exclusively biased towards elite performers and promoters. In contrast, the Forge fostered a spirit of inclusivity, welcoming all manner of musicians into their beautifully-designed, bespoke 100-seater concert hall, and - a rare boon within London's classical music scene - providing the possibility of actually earning a respectable fee for their efforts.
In recent years the venue had leaned increasingly towards the programming of Latin music events, including several concerts co-produced with the Iberian & Latin American Music Society. The venue also comprised a Latin 'Cantina' serving Latin American street food. The love and thought put into the design of this award-winning venue by its developers was self-evident. Having never received any formal economic support from the authorities, however, the owners finally succumbed to the overwhelming financial pressures of running a venue of this size which, by design, yields a lower revenue ceiling. That The Forge managed to stay open as long as it did nonetheless attests the industry and tenacity of the Cairds.
Co-founder Adam Caird commented that: “Running a music venue in these times is exceptionally tough and we have reached a point where it is time to close the doors and move on to new challenges. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved over eight wonderful years and our heartfelt thanks go to everyone who has contributed to and enjoyed this unique venue. We always strove to be as diverse, inclusive and welcoming as we could and we hope that these values have touched as many people as possible and will continue to do so".
The loss of The Forge is a depressing development in the continued demise of our capital's classical music ecosystem. Whilst numerous venues continue to sprout from the disingenuous manipulation of Section 106 laws, the reality is that London's major concert halls remain largely inaccesible to our fledgling musicians, and prohibitively expensive to independent promoters.
Meanwhile, Simon Rattle continues to lobby for a new concert hall for the LSO...
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