Astoria Closes Its Doors

At about 4 a.m. Jan. 16, the last reveler will have been ushered out and London’s Astoria will close its doors for the last time.

After 30 years as a rock venue hosting shows by the likes of The Rolling Stones, Prince and U2, the building is to be demolished to make way for a new tube and rail station.

Two years ago, more than 27,000 people signed a petition sent to site owners Derwent Valley, although the company has no control over what happens to it.

It was subject to a compulsory purchase order from Westminster Council as soon as the “Crossrail Project” – a new rail link across London – was first brought up.

Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments and Live Nation have been running the venue ever since. LN took over the lease on the 2,000-capacity room when it bought Mean Fiddler Music Group.

In 2007 Desmond and LN sold a package of venues to MAMA Group, which included the original Mean Fiddler venue in Harlesden, The Jazz Café, The Borderline, The Garage and the G.A.Y. bar.

It didn’t include The Astoria or The Mean Fiddler, which is in the same building, because of the uncertainty over their futures.

“It’s a shame because it was a national institution and it faded away, rather than going with a bang,” said Mags Revell of London’s Metropolis Music, which has put on “hundreds” of shows at the venue.

“We could have worked together to put on a week of shows featuring major acts that have played there. It wouldn’t have been hard because, shit hole that it was, all acts loved playing there.”

“It was a decrepit old dump, but it was our dump,” Russell Warby of William Morris Agency told Pollstar.

Warby, who has put scores of acts in the venue including Nirvana in 1989, ’90 and ’91, said it’s a shame it had to close.

The 1989 Nirvana show was singled out by The Independent as one of the venue’s “defining moments,” along with a 1994 gig from Manic Street Preachers and the show Kylie Minogue did with her sister Dannii in 2006.