Camden’s Jazz Cafe Reopens for Socially Distanced Live Music Gigs

The Jazz Cafe in Camden is set to reopen in September with gigs by Hackney Afrobeat veteran Dele Sosimi and an album launch from Light of The World

Lead image: Siobhan Bradshaw

The Jazz Cafe, which has been closed for six months, will return with fully seated, small-scale socially distanced gigs that mirror the original layout of the club when it opened in Camden Town 30 years ago.

Capacity will be down to 151 when the doors reopen on 18 September 2020 – the day before Soho’s legendary Ronnie Scott’s is due to reopen for live music gigs – with An Evening of Soul with The Sierra Band.

The Jazz Cafe, which hosts jazz bands, reggae artists and showcases music from across Africa and Latin America – as well as welcoming the likes of Amy Winehouse – was badly hit during lockdown with a monthly bill of £31,000 for rent and running costs, despite being unable to generate any income.

‘We’re still a long way off where we need to be and it will be very difficult to operate financially, but we owe it to all the people who make the live industry tick to give this a go,’ said head booker Ruari Frew.

‘Our world is largely made up of freelancers, many of whom fell through the gaps of any government support. It’s crucial that we get as many people as possible working again in a safe environment. Although it’s not sustainable in the long term, for now it’s exciting to have musicians on stage in front of an audience.’

Operating seven days a week with new Covid-secure measures in place and double shows at weekends, highlights include Sosimi & Friends on 19 September, a fundraiser for Beirut on 24 September, Light of The World’s Jazz Funk Power Album Launch on 25 September, and 19-year-old Lola Young, a rising star from south London, on 8 October.

5 Parkway, Camden Town NW1 7PG;


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