London’s Jazz Cafe is set to reopen this month as a seated venue, with capacity limited to socially distanced crowds of 151, split between 92 downstairs and another 52 in the restaurant above.
The address will welcome audiences from Saturday 19th September with a performance from Dele Sosimi, after which The Jazz Cafe will operate seven days a week. Osibisa, PBug and Lola Young are among the artists booked through until mid-October, while 24th September sees a fundraiser for Beirut following the devastating explosion that decimated parts of the Lebanese capital, including nightlife districts.
The 30-year-old Jazz Cafe was shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, and has remained closed for the last five months. The new format will see new regulations in place to comply with current legislation, but the change to all-seating actually harks back to how the space was originally conceived in 1990.
“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,” says The Jazz Cafe’s 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 medium or long term, for now it’s exciting to have musicians on stage in front of an audience, engineers in booths and bar staff serving drinks again.”
The positive news comes following the announcement that UK music venues could resume events from 15th August, excluding nightclubs, which may face strict safety standards in order to reopen, including bouncer patrols to ensure social distancing, temperature checks and compulsory face masks.
Take a look at the upcoming Jazz Cafe programme below.
The Jazz Cafe — September / October 2020
Saturday 19th September – Dele Sosimi
Thursday 24th September – Live For Beirut
Friday 25th September – Light of The World Album Launch
Thursday 8th October – Lola Young
Thursday 15th October – Balcony & Tayo Sound