A bastion of Bristol’s music scene, Thekla sets sail tomorrow for a £1m spruce up at Albion dry dock that should see it through another 50 years of music history.
Bristol’s best-known club, Thekla has been a part of the local music and arts scene since the early 80s, when it was converted into a theatre by Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band genius Vivian Stanshall and his family.
during one of Bristol’s most fertile musical eras, Thekla began its life as a nightclub
In the 1990s, during one of Bristol’s most fertile musical eras, Thekla began its life as a nightclub under new ownership, and regularly welcomed the likes of Massive Attack, Portishead and Roni Size early on their careers.
Even Banksy gave the landmark venue his seal of recognition, painting his Grim Reaper onto the ship’s side in 2003 (it’s since been removed to preserve the deteriorating artwork and is on loan to M Shed).
Since 2006, Thekla has been in the safe hands of award-winning national music promoters DHP Family, who are also the brains behind Nottingham’s Rock City and London’s The Garage, among others. As well as programming Thekla’s live music programme, DHP also host regular live gigs across the city, making use of Bristol’s multitude of great live venues from Rough Trade to SWX, including the brilliant Dot to Dot festival.
they’ve proven time and time again that they’re up for a fight when it comes to preserving the iconic venue
In that time, they’ve proven time and time again that they’re up for a fight when it comes to preserving the iconic venue – pumping £500,000 into a refurbishment just five years ago and installing a £50,000 sound system the following year. When the venue recently came under threat from developers, DHP and the Bristol music community rallied and forced contractors to rewrite plans that would protect Thekla from noise complaints that would almost inevitably shut the venue down.
This summer, they’re investing a massive £1million to ensure Thekla’s future for another 50 years. Between 11am and midday on 6 June, spectators will be able to watch the 50-metre ship being towed off towards its temporary home at Albion dry dock, where it will stay until September.
spectators will be able to watch the 50-metre ship being towed off towards its temporary home
In the meantime, DHP Family will continue to host live music across Bristol, with Tamu Massif, Swimming Girls, Candlebox, The Hu, Hackney Colliery Band and Ryan Bingham coming up this June.
Thekla, however, is on summer holiday – taking over Faraway Cocktail Club on Small Street with their favourite clubnights taking centre stage, plus 2-4-1 cocktails to boot.
Thekla, however, is on summer holiday – taking over Faraway Cocktail Club on Small Street
Thekla Faraway will be hosting indie and alternative night Pressure every Thursday, while Pressure’s top deck takeover with Chadders is getting its very own night – Chadders will be selecting his favourite rock, punk and metal at The Lock In every Friday. And every Saturday night, Pop Confessional will be pumping out guilty pop pleasures.
Thekla Faraway launches officially tomorrow night with Pressure – and they’re giving a free drink to all ticket holders to thank them for helping christen the new crib.
You can follow Thekla Faraway’s Facebook page to keep up to date with their summer shenanigans.
Photos by Dominika Scheibinger and Khali Ackford