Why Bassline is quitting the venue business after 22 years
The popular entertainment spot is closing down its Newton venue.
JOHANNESBURG – After lending an alternative space to emerging and established artists, Bassline Newton will end its 22-year run in the heart of Johannesburg this month, as part of its brand extension.
The popular entertainment spot, which started off as a jazz club in Mellville, will retire from the venue business to delve into artist management, festivals, and technical production.
Founder and managing director Brad Holmes says the move has been on the cards for a long time.
“The venue business itself has become increasingly more difficult and generally speaking, if you read any of the stuff that has been researched on the music industry. The customer is getting a lot more value out of a festival where he is paying R300 or R400 and is seeing ten acts in a day, whereas when you come into a venue you are seeing one or two acts. “
He adds: “It's also got a lot to do with the economy itself. Everybody is streamlining their business because it makes sense and the world is changing. If you want to survive in the music industry you have got try and be ahead of the curve.”
The club has grown into a cultural hub providing an ‘edgy’ alternative space for people, has hosted events like the weekly ragga nights and storytelling platforms such as Imbawula.
Some social media users have reacted unsympathetically while others are upset to see it go.
Reggae nights at Bassline been running for about 2 decades straight. Which gig can run weekly for THAT long? Respek Admiral & Jahseed! 👊🏾👑👑— MantsoePout-Nomzamo (@MantsoePout) December 13, 2016
This is so true...how arts and culture is being pushed out by capitalism and consumerism.Posted by Juliet Miyabo on Monday, 12 December 2016
So sad to hear that #Bassline is closing down. ThanQ for all you did for artists Bassline. Oh Newtown.. What will become of you? 😨😥— Bhoza Mphela (@MissBhoza) December 12, 2016
Bassline closing is high key worse than when Horror Cafe closed down. Andrew won't cry like Louis cried but wow. This is hectic. Newtown 💔— Tlale (@Tlale_K) December 12, 2016
Speaking on what the brand has manged to achieve Holmes said: “The great thing about having a venue is that we managed to get people who were sort of edgy, underground or had something different to say about a space. Anybody and everybody who is a performer in South Africa has played at Bassline at some stage in life, whether you are playing afro-pop, ragga, death metal. We are going to stick to our core business and grow it.”
He says the brand will continue the relations it has developed with artists and business partners like the City of Joburg over the years.