Café Afrika - Council offers help to save venue

April 30, 2004 12:00 AM
Ian Nimmo-Smith

Nimmo-Smith: we are very keen to work with live music venues to ensure that they can continue to provide a great night out for customers.

Concerned at the loss of its temporary entertainment licence, Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith today arranged for a meeting between himself and the Café Afrika managers.

The meeting between the Lib Dem leader of the council and the venue managers was held at Café Afrika in Sturton Street. It aimed to explore ways in which the city council can help the venue continue its unique contribution to the city's music life - in particular its celebration of world music.

Renewal of their temporary licence was refused by the city's Licensing Committee on the grounds of concerns about the management of the venue - in particular its impact on local residents.

"Café Afrika is doing a wonderful job in our community and we totally support the good work they do as a live music venue", says Cllr Nimmo-Smith.

"The venue is a valuable part of Cambridge's music scene but there are real issues of venue management that have to be addressed. We wish to help them by offering advice and expertise from some of the top venues in the city, including the Corn Exchange. We will put a package of advice and training together that should help the enthusiastic managers put a strong case when reapplying for a live entertainment licence".

Says Cllr Joye Rosenstiel who holds the Community Development and Leisure portfolio:

"I am pleased that the City Council through its Arts and Entertainments Section will be offering to meet with Cafe Africa to discuss assistance in resolving the issues of which were identified by the Licensing Panel. The Council doesn't underestimate the challenges of running a venue and the need to identify support and training where needed".

Cllr Nimmo-Smith adds:

"I was immensely impressed by the dedication and vision of the current managers. They have agreed with me that there are lessons that Café Afrika could learn about the way they manage the comings and goings of customers to the venue.

We are very concerned at the closure of the Boat Race as a live music venue and the loss of the Café Afrika's temporary licence. As a city council, we are very keen to work with live music venues to ensure that they can continue to provide a great night out for customers - and a peaceful one for local residents. Great music and good neighborliness can go together".

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