Coronavirus: live music in crisis – help Save The Jazz Cafe

One of London’s most iconic live music venues has launched a crowdfunding appeal to try and survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jazz Cafe has been an important platform for a diverse range of artists, including those of Turkish origin.

Like other venues up and down the country, it was forced to shut its doors in March as part of the lockdown measures, leaving it without any income.

The venue, which launched in December 1990, said it’s “the first time in 30 years we have shut our doors with no guarantee of reopening,” adding that it was “facing the biggest challenge in our history.”

With monthly overheads of £31,000, the staff believe there is a “very real prospect that the Jazz Cafe will not survive,” threatening dozens of jobs at the venue.

Save the Jazz Cafe – click here to Pay It Forward

The venue says it has not had any rent relief from their landlord and they do not qualify for a government grant.

Given the contagious nature of coronavirus, music venues will be among the last types of business allowed to re-open, and the longer Jazz Cafe remains closed, the greater the threat of its bankruptcy.

The Jazz Cafe has been at the forefront of showcasing an incredible array of British and international talent to an aficionado crowd of music fans for three decades. While not the biggest or most glamorous venue, it has hosted superstars such as Roy Ayers and Bobby Womack, while offering the likes of Amy Winehouse, Adele, D’Angelo, Faithless, Black Eyed Peas, and Jill Scott their earliest gigs.

In recent years, it’s music programming has extended beyond its staple of jazz, funk and soul to include the eclectic talents of global artists, including those from Turkey.

Photo © Ipek Ozerim/T-VINE: İlhan Erşahin’s Istanbul Sessions at the Jazz Café, London, 24 April 2017


Turkish artists that have performed at The Jazz Cafe include: Okay Temiz, Ezhel, İlhan Erşahin, Kalben, BaBa ZuLa, Tansay Omar, Djanan Turan, Nilüfer Yanya, and Aleksandir. Two other artists – Gripin and Olcay Bayır – had had to postpone their Jazz Café debuts due to the virus.

To try and stave off financial collapse, the venue has launched a Pay It Forward crowdfunding scheme, where customers can buy experiences they can redeem once the venue re-opens.

Rewards include £5 for a pint or glass of wine, £10 (club night ticket), £25 (any gig), £250 (3-course meal for four people at a gig of your choice), going up to £1,000 for entry to every gig at The Jazz Café for you and a friend for the next five years and 5 VIP tickets for Maiden Voyage Festival 2021.

All help to save the Jazz Cafe is gratefully received.