Notting Hill Arts Club, the West London live music institution, is riding out the losses from the Coronavirus pandemic that has seen thousands of already stretched music venues around the UK face closure.
The club has opened ‘The Hatch at Notting Hill Arts Club’, a kiosk at the front of the venue serving, cocktails, beer and more. Now they have partnered with famed East London coffee shop Climpson & Sons to open the coffee experts’ first West London outpost, which will be served at The Hatch all day.
It has become so popular that weekly takings are often matching or surpassing the income that the music venue has lost, providing a way for the community to support the venue while enjoying the summer. Jesse Wong, signed to Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings, the venue’s record label, performed his new single ‘Upside Down’ for customers outside The Hatch this week. The latest taste of his idiosyncratic brand of heavy R’n’B coupled with cinematic cathartic lyrics, ‘Upside Down’ is out now – listen here.
Jesse says, “It’s essential to keep venues like Notting Hill Arts Club going for so many reasons – aside from them being a platform for new artists to cut their teeth and hone their craft, if we’re to hope for any kind of ‘scene’, that requires a physical space in which to exist and for people to network.”
“It’s so important the when all this eases and we can have live music again, that venues like this are still here,” says Notting Hill Arts Club co-owner and Relentless Records MD Shabs Jobanputra, “They are the lifeblood of the UK’s extraordinary musical legacy, providing artists with place to develop, to find an audience and for fans to support and enjoy music from its inception.
“We opened The Hatch for a few hours a day and people started coming to pick up their drinks, then head to the park. It was a way of us using the venue while it is closed during the pandemic. We hoped it would recoup some of the losses but it’s actually generating real income that could save the venue. But like so many venues around the country, we still face a massive challenge to stay viable. We just want to thank everyone for their incredible support so far.”
The West London independent music venue has hosted countless global stars such as Ed Sheeran, The Libertines, Lily Allen, Mark Ronson and more. Crucially, for many of these artists, their performance came at the start of their career, highlighting the venue’s longstanding commitment to championing new talent.
The club had already diversified to face the realities of the modern landscape for venues where simply putting on gigs and club nights can no longer pay the bills. By day, the venue is a classroom for the Notting Hill Academy Of Music – a music business school that offers vocational courses to get young people in the door of the music industry. It’s been a huge success with many alumni now working in their dream jobs, such as Rob Ukaegbu who signed Headie One to Relentless Records, Dan Owusu, label boss at Dream Life Records and David Sonubi, who alongside his brother, Jojo, founded No Signal radio station.
In October 2019, Notting Hill Arts Club Recordings label was also launched, to provide a platform for new artists. As well as Jesse Wong, the label has released music from Grimm Twins and Birthday Card.