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PASSING CLOUDS is lost
We are very sad to inform you that one of Londons finest music venues, Passing Clouds, was today stormed by 50 bailifs and is now permantly closed at its Richmond Road, Dalston location.
Shock and grief has been expressed across the Afrobeat, folk and swing music scenes.
We would like to thank the Passing Clouds team for a decade of amazing events and hope they decide to find a new home for the almighty Passing Clouds.
This is our article from a few weeks ago when the struggle to say Passing Clouds was in full swing.....
Hundreds of local friends and musicians storm and recapture the venue from dodgy bailiffs.
The legendary East London venue Passing Clouds is under threat from shady property developers.
Passing Clouds was founded in 2006 by Eleanor Wilson as a late night live music club showcasing local talent. Over the past decade it has hosted countless amazing musicians covering all genres of quality music but especially concentrating on the vibrant Afrobeat scene.
Her remarkable leadership has made Passing Clouds one of the few venues that draws people from both East and West London, from both the poorest and most privileged communities to party harmoniously together.
Passing Clouds also soars above other venues in that it gives back a huge amount to the community with a full program of events and projects such as their Sunday free lunch, where they cook a free meal for anyone who is hungry. Truly an organisation to be admired.
Passing Clouds is now under serious threat.
The story so far....
In November the Passing Clouds building (No. 1 Richmond Road, just off Kingsland Road) was secretly sold to property developers Landhold Developments, who originally told us that they had no intention of developing the property and would let Passing Clouds stay.
In February they then informed Passing Clouds that they wished to turn our building into their offices, and that we should vacate the building at the end of our lease in May 2016.
Due to the massive business liabilities that Passing Clouds would incur if we had to leave with such short notice, we entered into negotiations with Garry Simpson of Landhold Developments, who agreed in writing to extend our lease by 3 months.
In April of 2016, Mr Simpson informed Passing Clouds that he intended to break his written agreement and terminate the lease. He offered to provide a one-month extension if Passing Clouds signed a fraudulent letter stating that Passing Clouds were leaving the building voluntarily due to being unable to sustain the business and buildings. We refused to sign this coercive and fraudulent letter and informed Mr Simpson that Passing Clouds would be continuing with the original 3-month extension.
At 6:30am on 16/6/16 a private security firm called County Enforcement Group illegally broke into and occupied the building at the behest of Landhold Developments and changed the locks, without court orders or lawful authority.
The Passing Clouds community mobilised in the region of 200 people to rally together and reclaim lawful possession of the building. At 4:30pm that afternoon, Passing Clouds successfully performed a common law eviction of County Enforcement Group and are currently maintaining security of the premises whilst continuing to run events as usual.
We are one of London’s very last collectively-run independent music venues and it is imperative that the live music scene does not fall prey to the corporate behemoth that threatens to destroy our industry, our livelihoods, and the heart and soul of the UK’s vibrant and diverse culture. Please get in touch if you can help us - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Passing Clouds say....
"We are truly humbled and overwhelmed by all the incredible messages of support and solidarity, and forever grateful to all those who have made it possible for us to reclaim our home and maintain security of the venue. Too many to name but you know who you are and WE LOVE YOU ALL!
We feel that our greatest possibility of success in maintaining possession of our precious venue will be a tidal wave of support from the public, the press, political figures, campaign groups, celebrities and our own community whilst at the same time progressing negotiations with Landhold to sell us the building.
And for this WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Here are 12 things that you can do to help the campaign:
1. Sign and share our change.org petition
At the time of writing we are at just under 3,000 signatures - we need millions!! Remember that this is not just about Passing Clouds. Communities are being destroyed by property developers everywhere and it needs to stop NOW. Click HERE to ask Landhold Developments to protect Passing Clouds for life.
2. Make a donation to our JustGiving page
Even if it’s as little as £1. We desperately need the funds necessary to make this campaign go through the roof and anything you can donate will be deeply appreciated and put to good use. Our page can be found HERE.
3. Like, share, comment, tweet any #PassingCloudsForever posts and speak positively about us on social media.
We´re getting a lot of incredible press and the story is constantly unfolding through photos and videos so follow us on social media for all the latest. Our hashtag is #PassingCloudForever - please like, share and comment!
4. Send unconditional love to Garry Simpson of Landhold Developments
Sending love to your adversaries is always effective in opening up their heartspace for negotiations. Garry Simpson is the main director of the development company that bought Passing Clouds. You can read all about them at www.landhold.com
5. Write to Diane Abbott MP and / or Meg Hillier MP
Meg Hillier is our direct MP for Hackney South ward but we also want Diane Abbott to be a spokesperson for Passing Clouds as a vibrant community hub and important platform for diaspora arts and culture.
Diane Abbot´s contacts are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Meg Hillier´s contact is email@example.com
We suggest explaining to them why Passing Clouds needs to be saved and how they can help us by being a spokesperson in the media and opening up negotiations with the landlord.
6. Help us find well-known ambassadors/spokespeople for our campaign
We are looking for well-known ambassadors from the worlds of music/culture/politics/academia. Feel free to contact directly. A quick email or Facebook message is enough.
They can support by providing a quote, tweeting about us, being a spokesperson for the campaign or visiting the venue. We have a great backstage area now and are very happy to host people there during our events. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have someone in mind to support.
7. Support the campaign in our office or at home
We have a huge amount of campaign administration to get through! If you have any free hours in the week that you could dedicate, please let us know!
8. Pass on any media contacts
If you have ideas of publications that might like to feature us, please let us know.
9. Help us bring well known musicians to perform Passing Clouds
Bringing internationally recognised artists such as Sun Ra, Lee Scratch Perry and Osibisa really builds national and international recognition for us as an important live music venue. Please help us continue this work by making suggestions of artists to bring here, or contacting them directly yourself.
10. Help with media - film, photography and graphic design
We always have need of help with these things - let us know if you have the skills!
11. Make a short video in support of Passing Clouds
A number of musicians and bands who have performed here as well as members of the community are sending in support videos. This is all very helpful!
12. Send a quote of support to email@example.com up to around 100 words.
We will put this on the website
Thank you so much for everything you have done so far. We are feeling SO grateful and for the amount of love and offers of help from you all. If you have contacted us recently offering help but have not yet received a reply, please know that we are reading every single message and working our way through them as quickly as we can. Also know that PASSING CLOUDS LOVES YOU!!"