An innovative cultural hub which made national headlines is reopening with the help of chart-topper James Bay, the Echo can reveal.
Pop Recs Ltd closed its doors in July after the building in which it was housed in Fawcett Street was sold to developers.
Public support ran high for the venture, which has brought big names such as James Bay, The Charlatans, The Vaccines, Franz Ferdinand and Badly Drawn Boy to play in the city, while also operating as a record store, gallery and space for community groups.
Now it’s back in the former TripleSix Studios in Stockton Road - but it needs your help.
James Bay, who hit the No 1 spot with his debut album, has joined forces with Frankie & the Heartstrings, the founders of Pop Recs, to encourage the people of Sunderland to help fund the hub via a KickStarter campaign.
The band is ploughing £4,000-£6,000 of its own money into renovating the former tattoo studio, but needs your help in raising the remaining funds.
Please do what you can and remember and realise how important it is for community, for peopleJames Bay
James Bay, whose track Hold Back the River was one of the biggest songs this year, is fronting the Pop Recs’ KickStarter campaign, a crowd-funding platform which is aimed at getting creative projects off the ground with people power.
He said: “It’s real people, not a big scary brand. It’s real people with a passion for music and bringing people together through music and other creative outlets.”
James, who used to work in a record shop in his younger years, said: “I’m behind Pop Recs. If you’re behind it, they need you. Please do what you can and remember and realise how important it is for community, for people.”
Work has already begun on the site, with workmen donating their time for free, with a view to getting Pop Recs Ltd up and running in the next four to six weeks.
Dave Harper, drummer with the Heartstrings, said: “The money will pay for practical things like plumbing and wiring. But we don’t want something for nothing. People can donate what they like and we’ll provide them with limited editions items or a mention in a frame in the shop in return. We want people to be part of what is a valuable resource for the city.
“We like to think it has enough of an intrinsic value to the city that people will donate the price of a couple of pasties and we’ll do something with it.”
He added: “We lost Pop Recs once, hopefully goodwill will make it a sustainable reality.”
Speaking about the choice of location, Dave said: “We looked at other spaces, but they didn’t fit in with what we want Pop Recs to be and we didn’t want to compromise.
“This has basement rooms, space for artists. It’s fit for purpose. It means we can do what we did with the first Pop Recs, but do it better.”
He added: “To be recognised by someone like James Bay and supported in this way is incredible, and shows that what we’re doing is worthwhile.”
lTo pledge to help Pop Recs visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1992103671/pop-recs-ltd.