LONDON (VIP NEWS) — Time, apparently, is running out for the London Astoria.
Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London, has confirmed that the iconic central London music venue will face the wrecking ball, to make way for the capital's new Crossrail transport service.
While it remains unclear when the demolition crew will roll in, Livingstone has committed to the creation of a new music venue as a replacement.
Melvin Benn, managing director of Festivals Republic, the live music firm which manages the Astoria venue, recently told Billboard.biz that he was "reasonably certain" the 2,000 capacity live music venue would stand in its existing form until 2010 or 2011. Benn could not be reached for comment today.
Today, Feargal Sharkey, CEO of British Music Rights and former chair on the U.K. government's Live Music Forum, said the closure would be "a blow," but said the trade body was "heartened" by Livingstone's commitment to the erection of a larger, alternative venue nearby.
Sharkey, who was a hitmaker in his own right as a solo artist and as frontman with punk-era rockers the Undertones, added, "[we] await with interest his proposals for a live music strategy."
The size and location of the Astoria, which began life as a pickle factory in the 1920s, has seen the theater become established as an essential gig spot for bands on the way up and as a hip London showcase for major artists. Some of the world's most influential acts have played there, including U2, the Rolling Stones, Prince, David Bowie and Radiohead.
Property developers Derwent Valley bought the freehold on the Astoria in 2006 for an estimated £24 million