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Oxford’s Cellar venue secures future with successful crowdfunding campaign

By | Published on Monday 26 November 2018

The Cellar in Oxford

Oxford music venue The Cellar has passed its crowdfunding target of £80,000, securing its future. With the money required to build a new fire escape in place, the venue is now raising additional cash for further improvements ahead of the campaign’s deadline tomorrow.

Already saved from closure last year after its landlord changed plans to convert the basement space it occupies into a retail unit, the future of the venue was put in doubt again after new fire regulations forced its capacity to be cut from 150 to 60. The venue announced last month that it had just five weeks to get together the money required to build a new fire escape that would increase its capacity to 200 or it would be forced to close permanently.

A tall order from the start, the venue nonetheless managed to reach that £80,000 target on Friday. In a statement, the venue’s manager Tim Hopkins said: “Wow, we are awestruck. Through the power of the people, thanks to you we’ve now got the crowdfunding we need to save The Cellar. Thank you so, so much because without this, The Cellar would definitely close this December”.

“It’s been an incredible journey and one we hope also communicates to people out there, just how crucial small venues are to our music and arts community”, he continued. “This is a live situation and we have been working really hard to get all the other things in place before the building work can commence”.

It is hoped that building work will begin in January, provided that planning is approved by the council early in the new year, as is currently expected.

With the final cut off for donations set for 10.30pm on Tuesday, the venue has said that it will spend any money raised over its original target on renovating its toilets, improving air conditioning, and upgrading its soundsystem.

Many artists who performed at The Cellar early in their careers have backed the campaign to save the venue, including Radiohead’s Phil Selway, Foals’ Yannis Philippakis, Nadine Shah, Gaz Coombes, and more.

Check out the crowdfunding campaign here.