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Oxford Reacts: Cellar’s closure

Three different perspectives on why the "beloved sweat den" cannot be allowed to close

Days after it was announced that Cellar, the popular Cornmarket club, would be closing its doors to make way for retail space, and after students have flocked in their hundreds to sign emergency petitions, Cherwell brings you three different perspectives on why this cannot be allowed to happen.

Lauren Sneade – Head of Isis Club Events

The news made me thoroughly depressed. The idea of our beloved sweat den being given over to what would doubtless be a shop for overpriced organic product X makes me sick. Our parents got Glastonbury for free, we get tasters for green juice. It’s symptomatic of what’s happening everywhere: ‘Denmark Street has died!’. But this is about our community specifically. There are two Prets on Cornmarket alone, and no other decent week night clubs in the whole of Oxford. Plus, at Cellar you don’t come home reeking of VKs. And it’s not just about the demographic who refuse to go to Bridge. Cellar’s closure would have a seriously negative impact on all student-run nights. Even if they eventually end up at The Bullingdon, student nights start at Cellar. Cellar offers a fair deal in a reasonably sized space. I was surprised at how much scope there is for student DJs at Oxford, but Cellar is the foundation for all of that. I’m sure everyone’s aware of this, though, and I’m also sure that it’s something people feel strongly enough about to try to help.

Maxim Parr-Reid – ‘I entered Cellar as sugar and left as caramel’

Cellar may be an unfamiliar club to some in Oxford, but to those who’ve been there, it has something approaching cult status. I entered Cellar as sugar and left as caramel. The club, which captivated me with the dizzying brilliance of Burning Down The House, should be celebrated as much for its atmosphere as well as its music. Cellar shies away from the nauseating tackiness of other clubs in Oxford. In doing so, the club focuses on providing a fantastic range of nights to tantalise all palettes. The club’s 80s and 90s nights are particularly unforgettable. Its floors may be oddly sticky, but overall, this is a fantastic club and we should seek to protect this iconic venue – one of Oxford’s best – however we can. If future generations are to experience the giddying exhilaration of deep house, then Cellar must not be allowed to be shut down.

Alice Harrett – ‘a poignant reminder of the cuts that are being made to the arts’
The potential closure of Cellar is extremely disappointing, not only because it is a great night out, but because it is a poignant reminder of the cuts that are being made to the arts. Cellar has hosted all kinds of events: from student bands, to international DJs, to events for minority groups. Many of these nights have raised impressive sums of money for both local and national charities, such as the mental health support service YoungMinds. Other events have helped fund art projects or zines, like Skin Deep and No Heterox. The closure of Cellar is ultimately the destruction of something that actively supports students, local musicians, charities, and creative projects. Perhaps the shop that replaces it will be less compact and sweaty than an end of term Patchwork, but whether or not you are fan of Cellar, nobody thinks that Oxford’s charm comes from its chain stores.


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