Lancaster Music Co-op to reveal future plans at launch party

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Plans for a popular Lancaster co-op for musicians to play, record and rehearse will be revealed at a special event next month.

The Lancaster Music Co-op is inviting people to an official launch party for its new website and to find out its plans for the future.

There will be live music from The Call Up, Varicose Veins and others, an open mic, along with a presentation of the brand-new website where music fans, bands and venues alike can access the latest Co-op updates.

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The new site also features a long-awaited online booking system as well as a much-needed local gig listings page, providing up-to-date information on the regional music scene – you need never miss a gig again because you didn’t hear about it!

Lancaster Music Co-op are holding a launch party to reveal their plans for the future.Lancaster Music Co-op are holding a launch party to reveal their plans for the future.
Lancaster Music Co-op are holding a launch party to reveal their plans for the future.

There will also be a Question and Answer session where local people can find out what has been happening, why the Co-op has remained closed and when they can hope to see it re-open.

The event is free and is open to everyone.

The event is on Thursday, March 16 from 7pm at The Pub, China Street, Lancaster.

Lancaster Music Co-op was established in 1985 by a group of Lancaster University students who needed somewhere to rehearse.

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After they completed a business plan they approached Lancaster City Council and were offered three potential premises of which 1 Lodge Street was chosen.

In the same year they secured funding from North West Arts and other smaller grant making bodies to build three rehearsal rooms and equipped them in 1986/87.

The recording studio was built and set up by former Music Co-op director Mick Armistead. It opened in 1986, and was purchased by the Co-op two years later.

The Co-op went on to build two more rehearsal rooms and further equip them, while upgrading the recording studio and carrying out basic repairs to the building.

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They continued and grew in popularity throughout the late 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s, creating employment opportunities for creatives both within the organisation and in the wider creative industry.

Lancaster’s music scene has grown considerably over the years and the Music Co-op has remained at the centre.

More recently this has seen the formation and success of the Lancaster Music Festival, now a major event on everybody’s calendar, attended by around 85,000 people with an estimated income of around £2m for the city every October.

In 2003 (in the midst of long-term lease negotiations between Lancaster Music Co-op and the City Council), developers were engaged by the City Council to develop the area where the Music Co-op is located and its future was put under threat.

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This situation lasted around 15 years, with a number of developers coming forward with plans, putting great stress on Lancaster Music Co-op and its workers.

Then in 2018 when the Council took back the area to work on the Canal Quarter development ideas, Lancaster Music Co-op was served with an eviction notice.

Lancaster’s creative community rallied together and fought hard to secure the future of Lancaster Music Co-op.

A petition to save the Music Co-op was signed by around 8,000 people and the matter was brought to full Council.

During the full Council meeting in November 2018 councillors voted unanimously to save the Co-op, repair the building, issue a long-term lease and protect its future.