A fond farewell to the Cellar. Tragically, the cult Oxford venue successfully reaching its crowdfunding target of £80,000 back in November proved to be a case of a battle won in a war that has now been lost, with the announcement that its doors have shut permanently.
The crowdfunded money would have covered the cost of putting in a new exit that would comply with fire regulations, but subsequently trying to sort out the logistics of the building work turned into a nightmare and the Hopkins family couldn't reach an agreement with the landlords over what might constitute a reasonable rent. The result is that the city has lost arguably its most unique live music space.
How better to pay tribute to the old place than to count down my top five Cellar gigs? (Note: I didn't just go to gigs there in 2008 and 2016 - those just happened to be particularly good years...)
5. Amber Arcades / Ella, 19th October 2016
4. Ex Models / Elaps-O / Load. Click. Shoot. / Ice, Sea, Dead People, 15th May 2008
3. Clanky Robo Gob Jobs / 50ft Panda / David K Frampton / Eduard Soundingblock, 14th May 2008 (This line-up was part of that year's Punt, the Nightshift-curated showcase for local talent that no longer runs)
2. Maiians / Cassels / Rosie Caldicott, 28th January 2016 (This gig was in support of Independent Venue Week, designed to raise funds and awareness in the fight to keep invaluable places like the Cellar open)
1. Oxes / Bilge Pump / Nitkowski / Eduard Soundingblock / Prefontaine, 23rd October 2008 (This might actually be my favourite ever Oxford gig - a classic five-bands-on-the-bill, stumble-back-home-to-East-Oxford-at-1am-in-a-happy-daze treat)