Club 85, the Hitchin venue that for over twenty years became a staple to the local grassroots music scene, will close within the next twelve months and become a residential development of 16 apartments.
The venue, which has hosted Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses, has been managed by Bob Mardon for the last two decades. While the owners have ensured that “every option was explored and evaluated,” the decision has been made to redevelop. Mardon has asked that we do not blame the landlord for this unfortunate decision.
“While we want to thank everyone for objecting to the planning application and thus showing the council how important the venue is to you and the town,” Mardon said in a statement posted on Club 85’s website, “we would like to encourage you to act with kindness towards our landlord, we have no ill will towards Jas, we understand his decision to retire, and we can understand wanting to do what is in the interest of supporting family.
“So, after a glorious 20+ years running 1000’s of gigs at Club 85, it is with great sorrow that we have to say we’re probably not going to be in this building for more than a year or so.
“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Jas and his family for hosting our Grassroots Music Venue and wish him well in his retirement.
“While our future is not yet secure, we are working to establish our options towards finding a positive resolution and even a new location locally that we aim to make even better for our community.
“We look forward to continuing conversations with Music Venue Trust, North Herts District Council, stakeholders and the music community to ensure live music continues to thrive in our town.
“Over the years, we have proved that North Herts needs and supports a Grassroots Music Venue, so many acts have grown up on our stage and gone on to stardom, and many successful industry professionals took their first steps with us.
“We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved so far and look forward to continuing to bring great live music to our community.
“We are going to need your support over the coming year or so to prepare for this move.”
In a statement, Club 85 landlord and owner Jas Lidder said,” It’s with a heavy heart that Jas & Ranjit Lidder, owners of Club 85, have announced they plan to retire by 2025. As the longest-standing landlords in Hitchin, both have served the community for a total of 60 years.
“It wasn’t an easy decision for the owners, but the most important thing in life is your health and mental wellness. Therefore, it’s time for both to enjoy their life after working 70+ hours per week for multiple years.
“We can assure you that every option was explored and evaluated, but we’ve decided the best choice was to develop the site. The decision wasn’t easy for both after all the hard work that the family has put into Club 85 since 1985 and the sacrifices to make it the best community hub in the area.
“We’d like to additionally pass our thanks on to Bob Mardon for the last 20 years. His hard work and dedication have led to Club 85 being the best live music venue in the area. We will both support Bob in developing a new grassroots venue.
“Lastly, we’d like to thank all the great people who have come through the doors over the last 38 years and becoming a part of the Club 85 family.”
More details can be found on the Club 85 website.