New Sunderland music venue set to attract big names to the city

The Lake Poets - By Jazzy Lemon.jpg Martin Longstaff aka The Lake Poets.
The Lake Poets - By Jazzy Lemon.jpg Martin Longstaff aka The Lake Poets.
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SUNDERLAND could attract big name musicians thanks to the relocation of an influential city centre venue.

Promoter Ben Wall, from Independent, says that a demolition order has brought a welcome change of site for the bar which hosts a range of gigs and events.

Ben Wall and Paul Smiles have taken over the lease for Van Mildert.

Ben Wall and Paul Smiles have taken over the lease for Van Mildert.

Independent has taken over the lease of the former Van Mildert department store over the road in Holmeside, a bigger site which will pave the way for bigger acts.

“We always knew the demolition order was coming,” said Ben. “We will be taking everything we’ve learnt at the original venue over the road.

“It’s going to be a bigger venue for us with 600 capacity downstairs and 200 upstairs.”

Earlier in the year, the Echo revealed that Independent, which has been in operation as a music venue for nearly seven years, will be torn down as part of the renovation of the area.

The disused Kwik Save and two-storey car park next to the club will also be demolished.

January 12 will be the last time Independent will open in its current form, with the new Independent due to open at the end of February or beginning of March.

“There’s lots of work to be done,” said Ben.

“It’s three times as big as the old site and was three different shops. I think if we were shutting down for good people would have been upset, but because we’re moving to a bigger site it can only be a good thing.”

Since it opened, Independent has been at the forefront 
of bringing new music into the city with bands such as Spector, the Zutons, the Klaxons and The Futureheads performing

Home-grown acts The Lake Poets and Frankie and The Heartstrings also started off their career playing there.

Speaking at the time of the demolition order, a spokesman from the Homes and Communities Agency, which owns the Kwik Save site, said: “The supermarket, twin-deck car park and associated buildings are no longer fit for modern use and need to be demolished.

“This will be to provide a development opportunity that will help attract investment into the city centre, to complement the HCA’s significant investment to date in support of regeneration initiatives across the city.

“The Independent nightclub occupies one of the buildings being demolished and since purchase by One NorthEast, has been on a short-term lease, on the understanding that the lease could terminate to facilitate regeneration of the Holmeside site.”

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