Outernet Global chief Philip Bourchier O’Ferrall has spoken to Music Week about the company's plans to open three new music venues as part of a new central London complex next year.
Set to open in the first quarter of 2021, Outernet London will be based opposite Tottenham Court Road Tube station and is projected to welcome up to 400,000 visitors a day. It will comprise a 2,000-capacity venue, the resurrected 500-capacity 12 Bar Club and an additional 300-capacity venue, alongside immersive media spaces, a hotel, recording studio, shops, restaurants and bars.
The £1 billion development's centrepiece will be The Now Building - a live interactive broadcast environment boasting 8k, 360° screens for brand engagement. Similar Outernet schemes are also earmarked for New York, Los Angeles, Berlin and Dubai.
“The ultimate goal is to create a worldwide network of immersive entertainment districts in high footfall, central, iconic locations where you have the ability to sell advertising, but make the advertising part of the experience,” said O’Ferrall, speaking in the latest issue of Music Week.
I hope that we can be a positive beacon as people start to come back
Philip Bourchier O'Ferrall
Former Viacom exec O'Ferrall said the target was for the three music venues to each host a minimum of 100 gigs a year, while the complex will be suitable for album launches, film premieres and screenings, along with other media events.
"The commercial reality is that the more credible and honest we can make the ecosystem, the more we can charge brands and therefore have less advertising," he said.
The tide finally appeared to be turning for the small venue circuit prior to the coronavirus pandemic, with the number of grassroots music venues in the capital rebounded to 100 in 2019 following a decade of decline, according to the Music Venue Trust. Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett, owner of the acclaimed Omeara in London Bridge, launched Lafayette in King's Cross in March.
And despite the current uncertainty, which has placed more than 550 UK grassroots venues at risk of closure, O'Ferrall said Outernet London remains on track for an early 2021 opening.
“We’re trying to continue safely working so that we can get as many people back into work in the industry as soon as we’re able to finish the job," he said. “I hope that we can be a positive beacon as people start to come back."
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