As Exchange take their long love story with Bristol (see: The Croft, Deadpunk and more) to the next level, I caught up with head honcho Matt Otridge to talk relaunching as a Community Interest Company, new happenings and how you can get involved.
So you’re now a CIC, what brought this on and what does it mean for the venue, and Bristol?
I think realistically we have had the mindset of a Community Interest Company during most of the last ten years, whilst running Exchange and The Croft. It was more of a case that we didn’t really understand different company structures, coupled with a more positive change of attitude towards the value of live music venues in communities. The Music Venue Trust, of which we are a member, have been instrumental in helping bring about this change.
Hopefully identifying ourselves as a CIC will mean that more people may want to get involved and use our space, and allow us to access funding applications that can bring about further positive change within our music scene and local communities in general!
Who’re you working with from the community so far?
“We will soon be hosting Punk Rock Yoga…”
At the moment we have a few residents who share our space, alongside Specialist Subject Records (who had a very successful launch party last weekend), our building is also home to Joe’s Garage (recording studio and rehearsal space), Invisible Llama (record label and promoters) and Deadpunk Promotions.
Alongside our gig program we are also starting to see people using our space for a variety of different purposes. We have weekly free jazz rehearsals (the members change week to week), Missing Pieces Theatre rehearsals once a month and we will soon be hosting Punk Rock Yoga. Our Cafe & Kitchen has also just relaunched with a new chef and a fresh, vegan Tex Mex menu.
Are you still going to be putting on tours etc as usual, though?
Yes none of that is going to change – The main point is that we have a large versatile space that is not being used a lot of the time, and we want to change that.
How can people get involved with the new Exchange?
“We’re very keen to hear new ideas…”
If people are looking to host daytime / non-gig events then they can email me (matt [at] exchangebristol [dot] com). For gig enquiries for both the main room and bar, they can email Iwan (iwan [at] exchangebristol [dot] com). We’re very keen to hear new ideas and are keeping hire fees for local people low (or even free where possible).
Visit their brand new website here, and cast your mind back to the year Exchange was born with our mini-doc below: