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Stoke Newington music venue Total Refreshment Centre issued with closure notice by council

Empty: the main room at Total Refreshment Centre

Totalled: the main room at Total Refreshment Centre. Photograph: Twitter

Stoke Newington’s popular Total Refreshment Centre (TRC) – live music venue, recording studio and one of the centres of London’s contemporary jazz scene – was issued with a notice of closure by Hackney Council this week, and will hold no events for the foreseeable future.

Hackney Council confirmed the edict in a statement to the Citizen: “The premises is under investigation and has been issued with a closure notice for allegedly selling alcohol and playing music without the relevant licenses.”

It was quick to note on Twitter that this doesn’t constitute a “shutdown”.

However, the TRC ownership has confirmed that all upcoming events at the former Jamaican social club just off Stoke Newington Road – including gigs from MXMJoY, Soccer 96 and Brazilian funk artist Di Melo – will have to be cancelled or moved.

The alarm was raised early on Thursday when London dance promoters Beauty and the Beat cancelled one of their parties, set to take place on Saturday, “because Total Refreshment Centre has been closed down by the council”.

Alexis Blondel (aka Lex), who runs TRC, took to Facebook four hours later to confirm the “bad news”, issuing the following statement to “the TRC fam”: “As of this week we won’t be having events at TRC for a little while. The council has issued us with a notice of closure.

“We will know more in the coming weeks, but for now we’re going to stay quiet. It’s not radio silence though, we want to stay in touch with y’al! [sic]

“We want to thank all the dancers, the fellow promoters, the artists, DJs & the TRC staff, each of you have put your trust in us & sailed on the TRC ship.

Root 73, TRC's in-house recording studio, will reportedly continue. Photograph: Asher Korner

Root 73, TRC’s in-house recording studio, will reportedly continue. Photograph: Asher Korner

“Hats off to y’all, this has not always been smooth sailing, but then again cruises are boring. We’re more the rafting in the rapids kinda cats, right? During this down time, we will need your help to keep the TRC ship afloat until better days come.

“Change is not always a bad thing, we’ll adapt and find news [sic] ways to connect with y’all.”

The statement goes on to suggest that the various studios and projects housed within the block – including the recently opened recording studio Root 73, covered in last month’s Citizen – will continue to operate.

TRC has been running for over six years in Stoke Newington, and its musical focus has been on jazz, funk and dance music from around the world.

The venue has hosted sets by many a jazz luminary, including BBC DJ Gilles Peterson, and modern Hackney-based act The Comet is Coming recorded their Mercury Prize-nominated album Channel the Spirits within its confines.

Forty per cent of grassroots music venues that were trading in London in 2007 had closed down by the end of 2016, according to Full Fact.

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