NORTH LONDON’S 1,420-capacity Koko – voted one of the Top 3 in the Best Venue Teamwork: Major Club category in the Live Music Business Awards – has been forced to close with immediate effect, after a structural issue with the building was discovered.
The Grade II*-listed building, owned by The Mint Group, and was expected to remain open during its current reconstruction programme, but was forced to close on 21 September for essential remedial work to take place. Repairs are expected to take until at least mid-October.
Opening on Boxing Day in 1900 as the Camden Theatre, the venue has been through reincarnations since the early-‘80s as Music Machine and, Camden Palace before becoming Koko.
“Our consultant surveyors made us aware of a structural issue within the venue and, as the protection and well-being of our customers and staff is of paramount importance, we have therefore decided to close the venue while work is carried out,” says Koko operations director Larry Seymour.
All promoters and managements who had artistes or events booked into the venue during the closure period were notified.
As a result, Dreadzone’s gig was moved to the Islington Assembly Hall (cap. 800), Peter Hook & The Light’s show was diverted to the Electric Ballroom (1,500) with performances by the Coral, Palaye Royal, Camelot and Jilted John also moved to other locations.
Earlier this year the venue had been granted planning permission for a full redevelopment or an adjacent property, but details were still under wraps at press time.
In December 2015 a similar fate befell another historic London venue, the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (2,000), following an inspection of the roof during works. It was forced to close immediately with shows moved elsewhere, and remained shut for several months.