Music fans stunned as venue set to celebrate 20th year has closed

Amy Winehouse.
Amy Winehouse.
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MUSIC FANS are today mourning the loss of one of the biggest independent venues in Leeds.

The Cockpit announced yesterday it will close its doors for good after 20 years in business.

Owner Colin Oliver cited the poor condition of the building as the main reason for the closure, as well as dwindling numbers at student clubnights.

The popular venue has played host to some of the biggest names in the industry during its two-decade run, including The White Stripes, Amy Winehouse, Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stoneage, Flaming Lips, The Libertines, Feeder, Mumford & Sons, Vampire Weekend, The Killers, Fall Out Boy, Bloc Party, Coldplay and The Kaiser Chiefs.

It was well-known for attracting internationally famous bands as well as giving local talent the chance to shine.

Owner Mr Oliver, who originally set up The Cockpit 20 years ago, said: “We should have done it two years ago but the thing is, you get caught up in it and there is a lot of history and a lot of people have been through those doors.

“No-one wants to see an iconic venue like that disappear but we have got to keep up and if you don’t you will be left behind. Basically we would have had to close down for a year for it to be damp-proofed and the sewage and drainage systems to be sorted [...] and that doesn’t work for us.”

Mr Oliver is director of promotions company Futuresound Events, and says its sister company Slam Dunk will launch a new venue called Key Club in Leeds on Saturday September 20.

He also revealed plans to open another new venue in the city in 2015, to follow in the footsteps of The Cockpit. Mr Oliver added: “Live music is as vibrant as it has ever been. It’s the end of an era for The Cockpit, but the start of a new one for Futuresound.”