The venue shut without warning earlier this month, and later said that the closure was due to being in rent arrears. “We’ve had Covid-related rent arrears for a long time due to a mixture of being unable to trade during lockdown, and mixed trading in the years after,” it wrote in a statement. “We haven’t managed to solve it”.
The team is now attempting to crowdfund £35,000 in order to pay off their debts and secure a future for the venue. At time of writing, they have raised over £14,000, and also have a series of fundraising gigs and events coming up in the near future.
“We understand that in the midst of the cost of living crisis, especially at a time that many people are donating to various political campaigns, asking for money is difficult. We wouldn’t be doing this unless we absolutely had to,” organisers wrote. They added that the Music Venue Trust is supporting them, and said that they "couldn't have gotten through this week without them".
The community-orientated venue, which is perhaps best known for hosting the experimental jazz night Steam Down, first opened its doors in 2018 and has had a huge influence on shaping some of the capital’s most exciting emerging music scenes ever since.
The likes of this year's Mercury winners Ezra Collective, Sampa The Great, Nubya Garcia, Sons of Kemet, Moses Boyd and Theon Cross have all graced Steam Down at various points, while US saxophonist and Kendrick Lamar collaborator Kamasi Washington has also been known to drop by.
If you’d like to help out Matchstick Piehouse, you can donate to its crowdfunder here, or head to one of the venue's upcoming fundraiser shows.
On December 1, The George Tavern is putting on a fundraiser from 7pm with a secret line-up of special guests, with tickets on sale now. Hackney’s Colour Factory is also staging a late night show, set to feature the likes of Amor Ante, UrlAmelia, and Queer House Party.
Nunhead’s The Ivy House – which famously fought back against property developers in 2013 to become London’s first community-owned pub, and the first in the UK to win Asset of Community Value status – is also staging a pair of fundraiser shows, with secret headliners, on December 6 and 7.
All profits will directly help to save the grassroots venue.