‘Call to arms’: Paper Dress recently celebrated 12 years in business.
Photograph: courtesy Steve Dix

Popular music venue and boutique Paper Dress Vintage has launched a crowdfunder after postponing all events because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Owner Steve Dix announced the “heart-breaking decision” on social media, just a few months after Paper Dress celebrated its 12-year anniversary.

He is appealing for those “fortunate enough to have a stable income in these times” to help the team and the many freelancers who help run events.

Options for donors on the crowdfunding page range from £50 vouchers for future yoga classes, £20 to support staff, to a simple £5 to buy the team a consolatory drink.

Those feeling particularly supportive can even put down a £1,000 bar tab and get free reign of the venue for a night when it reopens.

Although Dix is keeping an open mind on the relaunch, provisionally set for 3 April, he told the Citizen that “the situation we’ve seen unfold in China and now in Europe would suggest a 12-week closure is very possible”.

In an appeal to the community, he said: “We make our money from selling drinks and putting on music, but it looks like there’s not going to be any of that happening for at least a month (and for how long after, who knows), which puts us in a bit of a pickle.

“And, if you do play in a band and have performed at Paper Dress then you’ll have met one of our sound techs who are some of the best in the business, led by our head engineer Jim. You probably owe them a drink for making your on-stage sound so good, right?

“If you’ve ever passed through our doors, one of our friendly bar staff will have served you a drink. Did you leave a tip? If not now is the time to do so..

“This appeal is as much to support our team of freelancers who now find themselves without income for the forseeable, from both us and other venues.”

Paper Dress has previously hosted acts including Slow Club, Teleman, Squid, The Wave Pictures, Japanese Television, Flamingods, Sink Ya Teeth and many more.

On the crowdfunding page, Steve said: “We’ve calculated that our weekly expenditure is around £5,000, which includes rent on two properties, wages, loan interest, utilities and all the other demands small businesses are faced with (in case you weren’t aware, we also rent the building next door to Paper Dress Vintage from a separate landlord where we run our yoga studio and sublet downstairs to a hairdresser, shared workspace and a gallery. We have already lost our tenant for the gallery space due to the outbreak).

“Fortunately we do have some money in the business so we’re not in grave danger, yet.

“Whilst we hope that this shutdown will not last for too long, we are preparing for the reality that we may have to close for up to 12 weeks (£5k x 12 = gulp!!), hence taking these early steps to get ahead of the curve with this call to arms!”

To find out how you can support Paper Dress Vintage and its team, head over to the crowdfunding page

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