It’s been a tumultuous 18 months for music venues around Liverpool City Centre, with the well publicised happenings at the Static Gallery, MOJO cutting their live music programme, the Jacaranda shutting down without notice, Le Bateau closing its doors and Mello Mello facing a large bill from the council. So it’s nice for once, to be able to report a good news story.
About this time last year, it seemed that a similar fate was to befall The Masque on Seel Street after the venue closed its doors abruptly due to mismanagement by the parent company. Temporary locations were hastily found for the events left homeless by this sudden turn of events but it seemed like the two main dwellers of The Masque – club nights Circus and Chibuku – would have to decamp from the venue they’d called home for the past 10 years.
However, due to the persistence and persuasion of the teams behind Chibuku and Circus, they were able to get access to the premises and continue to use it as their home base. This morning, they announced they had secured the long term future of The Masque by sealing a deal with MAMA Group – owners of iconic music venues such as London Forum, Jazz Café and Ritz Manchester as well as being heavily involved in the festival scene. Simply put – the perfect bedfellows for the venture.
As part of the deal the entire venue will be given a thorough renovation and an exciting live music programme is being lined up for 2013. Richard McGinnis, head honcho at Chibuku, is keen for The Masque to reach full potential and for the city to have a venue to be proud of.
“Liverpool for too long has been second best for touring live acts”, he explains, “and right now needs a venue of merit for local bands to aspire to play in. We are going to create that venue. We have had a few close calls and a few false starts in getting this deal across the line, so I’m over the moon finally we can announce it to everyone”.
In order to help you fully understand what this means, we’ve prepared some reasonably helpful FAQ style answers below. YOU’RE WELCOME.
So, who are the MAMA Group?
MAMA Group Limited is a live venue and artist management company which was founded in 2002 and is owned by the HMV Group. It is a parent company of a range of music and marketing businesses. In the live music sector, they operate the venues including the HMV Hammersmith Apollo, HMV Forum in Kentish Town, HMV Institute, Jazz Café in Camden Town and Relentless Garage in Islington. If you think we just copied and pasted this from Wikipedia you’d be very much correct.
This is a good thing, yeah?
Yes, it’s a very good thing. The MAMA Group have proven experience in this area and they’ve already got a working relationship with the team currently at the helm of The Masque.
But will it still be called The Masque?
Yes, it will still be called The Masque. And even if it was to change its name, everyone would still call it The Masque anyway.
Is it going to be shut during the renovations?
Yep, they’re giving the place a good overhaul, so expect it to be shut until February. The Circus Boxing Night event and Chibuku’s New Year’s Eve party will both be held at Camp and Furnace.
What kind of acts can we expect to see next year?
Honestly, we don’t know the answer to this yet, other than it will continue to be play host to Chibuku and Circus. However knowing the reputation of the teams working on the programming, we’d expect it to be a strong line up. This is a complete cop out of an answer, apols.
Is there anything you can do about the one way system on Seel St?
Unfortunately, the ever changing one way system on Seel Street is a whim of the council and so the good news at The Masque doesn’t cover this.