As an award-winning community live music venue, Brudenell Social Club has been a central part of the Leeds music scene for many years, providing a space for recognised artists to hold intimate gigs and for up-and-coming talent to progress their careers.
As the venue has been highly popular for many years, the decision was taken to develop an unused piece of land next to the main building into the first purpose-built live music venue in the UK for around 20 years.
With many live music venues across the UK facing issues such as noise complaints and rising costs, Nathan Clark, General Manager at the club who has been running the venue since 2014, explained why he felt now was a good time to pursue the project: “Because we’re in a way a social enterprise, an independent business where we don’t take massive profit out of the business, the project was funded entirely through reinvestment. We saw that we could use the space in a more beneficial way for our area and it could be a valuable addition to the area rather than some other projects that we see. It felt like this was the right time for us and for the community to invest in a new space when other places are closing down; we had the available resources and the land so it made sense to do it now.”
The new venue sits on a disused car park next to the original Social Club building. Although it’s entirely self-funded, the emphasis was always on having the best equipment for both engineers and audiences. With this in mind, the venue invested heavily in VDC.
Clark added: “We bought in VDC who we recognise as the best cable specialists in that PA world, so we got all the cabling for the PA from VDC as well as the multicore boxes going and all the new stage cables; basically all cabling for the venue on the music side has been supplied by VDC.”
“VDC have always been one of the industry standards but we wanted to get everything from them so we knew that it was industry standard across the board.”
In addition to this, SSE installed a d&b PA system and Zigzag installed a lighting rig.
This high-end AV kit list also enables the venue to host a wider variety of events, including film screenings and community events, creating an entirely new offering for the local community, and this link to the local area was crucial in ensuring support for the project. “During the planning stage we had to negotiate with councils, neighbours and highways to make it work and get everyone to understand the project and make it beneficial for the community. We received letters of support from the community, the local resident’s association and local councilors – it was seen as a positive for the area. That’s why we’ve named it The Community Room at The Brundenell Social Club.”
The overall project cost around £700,000 but the 300-capacity venue opened on 7 September with Mogwai playing the opening show, the day before headlining Festival Number 6. In the coming weeks events will be held most days.
Clark concluded: “VDC were great. They were great to deal with and worked with us very well. They understood when we asked for specific things, such as certain colours of cable to match what our current stock is; they were happy to fulfil that and work with us along the way.”