Stop the eviction of The Bongo Club or provide an alternative space.
  • Petitioned Edinburgh University, Edinburgh City Council & The Scottish Government

This petition was delivered to:

Edinburgh University, Edinburgh City Council & The Scottish Government

Stop the eviction of The Bongo Club or provide an alternative space.

    1. Ally Hill
    2. Petition by

      Ally Hill

      Edinburgh, United Kingdom

The Bongo Club is a integral part of the vibrant music and arts scene in Scotland's capital city and as such should be protected. It's threatened closure is the latest in a long line of closure of independent music and arts venues leaving Edinburgh without sufficient provision in this regard.

Despite being a beautiful, blossoming city of international renown and appeal that hosts the biggest arts festival in the world, Edinburgh’s all year round independent music and arts venues are few and far between.

At the heart of this scene since 1996, The Bongo Club is a nightclub, gig venue and all-round artistic hub with a street-level-headed attitude and an international reputation.  It is truly independent, as the performance venue of local arts charity Out Of The Blue, which has an established track record as a catalyst for creativity in Edinburgh.  This has allowed The Bongo Club to put the sounds of the underground and imaginative aspirations before the mighty dollar, encouraging the community to get involved and The Bongo Club to do their own thing. A long standing stalwart of the Edinburgh Fringe with a list of guests that reads like a ‘who’s who’ of cultural alternatives, the loss of this venue would be of real detriment to the city.

However this could all too soon be the reality; its landlords (amongst the city’s biggest and certainly the biggest host to festival venues) Edinburgh University have given The Bongo Club notice to quit. This notice terminates the lease a whole year in advance of the agreed period.

To end the lease at this point jeopardises the work that has established Out Of The Blue and The Bongo Club as vital Edinburgh institutions whose value is recognised and supported by The Scottish Government, Edinburgh City Council, Creative Scotland and many other partners. To highlight the relationship with the University; of the 67,795 audience members who attended the Bongo Club in 2011, at least 20,000 were Edinburgh University students. The Club has hosted events by over 100 different University societies, charities and theatre companies. As Edinburgh University Rector Iain Macwhirter says;

"I cannot believe that it is beyond the wit of Edinburgh University to find some accommodation for this highly successful and groundbreaking community venture, which has done much to strengthen links with the ordinary people of Edinburgh - the people who pay for the university through their taxes.  The university has a truly vast estate of buildings and surely some corner can be found.  I say: 'Save the Bongo'."

We have 6 months to ensure that this famous Edinburgh institution continues to flourish and protect the vitality of the city. The preferred option is for the University to acknowledge the value of The Bongo Club and to reverse its decision. Negotiations between the management of The Bongo Club and the University currently indicate that the University have no intention to change their decision.

The situation is typically well summed up by one of The Bongo Club’s perennial performers, broadcaster and comedian Mark Thomas;

"The Bongo Club is a rare and wonderful thing, a club that encourages the best of its local artistic community. During the Fringe it is a venue that works to promote new and exciting work that attracts visitors and locals alike AND provides genuinely inspiring line ups and shows at properly affordable prices. It has an ethos of experimentation and discovery and accessibility that is unique. It is part of the artistic DNA of Edinburgh and to lose it would be an act of cultural self harming. "

Recent signatures

    News

    1. 5,000 signatures! Live long Bongo Club

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      "Because Bongo Club it is an institution in Edinburgh. It is a place where art and music find their space of expression, giving the possibility to local creative individuals to see their work showcased and presented to the public instead remaining in the underground. Bongo Club is a creative nursery for the Scottish producers, musicians and the east coast music scene as whole! Let the young minds breathe!" Fabio Santucci

    2. We've got 4,900 signatures! Thanks! Keep sharing the link

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      "The Bongo Club as it is now and in its days in New Street has had a tremendous impact on my life. A truly vibrant and creative space, it brought artists and musicians together and has hosted so many incredible performances. The Bongo Club played a huge part in carving out my career in music and filmmaking. It's a vital part of Edinburgh's creative life and must be protected!" Ruth Barrie

    3. We've hit 4,700 signatures! Thank you! Keep sharing the link

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      "This isn't just a club space - it is a core part of the cultural landscape of Edinburgh. It provides a place for the city's resident creative people to meet and collaborate and many of the cultural workers in Edinburgh and Scotland can trace an essential element of their professional career and artistic development back to here. Edinburgh's status as the festival city of the world should be based upon a thriving, diverse and challenging year round culture where artists can continue to innovate and experiment. The Bongo Club is the space that allows that to happen" Philippa Cochrane

    4. Thanks! We've now got over 4600 signatures! Please keep sharing the link!

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      "We employ between 30 and 50 staff. This is a small venue but it's a mini-music industry. It's not just bands who cut their teeth here but sound and lighting engineers, promoters, even bar staff. And the irony is that we're well-loved and successful, financially and culturally." The Bongo is closing because Edinburgh University, which owns the site, wants it back to build offices. A search for a new site for the club has failed. "The bottom line is that those that could help just don't value venues like ours," said Ally Hill, Venue Manager. From an article in The Observer 27.5.12

    5. Thanks! We've now got over 4500 signatures! Please keep sharing the link!

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      We're working really hard to secure new premises so we can continue from September onwards, following our eviction by The University of Edinburgh

    6. Reached 4,000 signatures
    7. Thanks to you, we've got over 4000 signatures! Keep sharing the link!

      Ally Hill
      Petition Organizer

      Please keep sharing the petition link and tell your friends

    8. Reached 2,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Emma Reed WESTCLIFF-ON-SEA, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      The arts are what make life worth living.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Karen Anna Sandholm EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      It is one of the only decent clubs in Edinburgh!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rosanne Sorayah JUDE SOULTZ, FRANCE
      • about 2 years ago

      I moved to Edinburgh 15days ago (was living in France before that) and although I havn't got to go to the club yet, most of the people I've met - and these are people from very different domains and states of mind - have told me about The Bongo. There's no question, It is a reference in Edi city and has to stay!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Mathew Smith GLASGOW, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      The Bongo Club is an institution for alternative arts and culture, and one of the few venues left that isn't G1 or some other generic corporate souless equivalent.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Anne Pritchard EDINBURGH, UNITED KINGDOM
      • about 2 years ago

      Unique venue, eclectic events for wide variety of people. Town and Gown.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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