Iconic Bassline venue set to close

Popular concert venue Bassline in Newtown will close down at the end of this month. After an eventful 22 years as one of the most popular and iconic concert and festival venues, Bassline will be closing at the end of December as the company starts a new direction and strategy.

“The business will carry on and will be going into artist management, festivals, and technical production, it’s basically following the trends that are happening around the world,” Brad Holmes, Bassline founder shared.

“We now manage Bucie Nqwiliso, and we’ve still got all of our gear, so we’ll be putting out for rental and basically pivoting our business into a more mobile one.”

Holmes says that this is just a natural progression for the business, saying that when the Bassline first opened in 1994, it was a 60-seater jazz club, which went on to becoming a 200-seater when they changed venues, and, when the venue moved to Newtown about 12 years ago, it became a full-on concert venue, and now it’s going into festival production, artist management and so on.

“The venue business is a very tough business. Basically we’ve been doomed for quite a long time and the festivals have essentially been subsidising the venue. There comes a time when one realises that they need to move forward,” Holmes says.

He says the hardest thing is probably that the Bassline brand is represented as a venue, but he’s confident that as time goes on it will be pivoted into a concerts brand which will go all the way around.

Holmes further emphasises that the real issue is that it’s not feasible to be a nice-to-have business in a 0% growth economy, which is the case in South Africa, whose economy in the last quarter grew at 0.4%.

“The retrenchment of staff has also been a very difficult thing to do. It’s really difficult to do that kind of thing, otherwise I think in six months’ time we’ll look back and know that it’s the best decision we’ve ever made,” Holmes says.

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