Meet the Venue: The Jericho Tavern, Oxford
with Holly (Promoter)
How did you get your job at the venue / How did you end up owning the venue?
I have always been passionate about live music. I started working at The Jericho a few years ago, at a time when the venue was struggling a bit with its identity. My then boss (and now girlfriend) decided to give me the venue. I have spent the last two years injecting it with as much variety as possible and introducing acts I’m stoked about. It’s worked really well!
Favourite venue that’s not your own?
Koko in Camden. The perfect capacity, gorgeous architecture and the people who run it are outstanding. I’ve seen many a great show there! Or Brixton Academy because it’s just so filthy. I like that. (Sorry… not sorry)
Favourite show you’ve had?
I agonized over this question! Such a difficult decision to make. I think it has to be Ezra Furman & The Boyfriends. They, for me, embody everything live music is about- so much passion, so much appreciation for the people that have come out to see them. The show itself was consuming, Ezra did a cheeky little costume change into a gorgeous red dress half way through! You couldn’t predict how things were going to go and that’s just thrilling to me.
Biggest artist you’ve had?
Our stage has played host to Radiohead, Supergrass, Pulp, Mumford & Sons, Ben Howard, Laura Marling- to name a few. In my time here, Glass Animals have just killed it! After playing with us last year, they began an international tour and have since gone from strength to strength including collaborating with us to put out a documentary with ‘Dillygent’ which was, by far, one of the coolest things I’ve ever had the pleasure to be a part of.
Most rock’n’roll moment at the venue?
We love a good guitar smash. We recently had Justice Yeldham, a performance artist, play some glass with his face. That was more glass & roll…
If you could have any artist play your venue, who would it be?
Chet Faker. That man’s dulcet tones make me want to go to Synagogue.
Most famous person to come to your venue?
Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, Owen Jones. Two very different kinds of people…
Best thing about running an independent venue?
I get to listen to bands I really like pretty much non-stop. I also love getting the opportunity to work with really talented people and give them the platform to perform & get their stuff out there in Oxford.
What three smaller acts that have played your venue this year would you like to break out onto bigger things?
Esther Joy Lane is one remarkably talented lady. She produces her own stuff & the sheer level of artistry that goes into her song construction means I’m somewhat surprised she’s not internationally known already.
Balloon Ascents- their growth has been amazing but I really want to see them boom this year. The indie outfit with absolutely killer harmonies.
Liu Bei- so, so beautiful! What would happen if The Temper Trap & Vancouver Sleep Clinic had a love child.
Weirdest thing that bands do when playing your venue?
Hide sandwiches in the soundbooth… why? Just- why do people do that? Just really odd. Now I’ve said this I bet there’s an influx of sandwich related hide & seek.
Weirdest rider request?
Industrial quantities of Salt & Vinegar crisps, a 2 litre bottle of Pepsi and a tub of Vaseline. What the latter was for I don’t know (nor shall I ask)
What makes a good promoter?
Communication. Constantly touching base with the artist/band you’re promoting. Setting some clear expectations and doing everything in your power to reach them. Be consistent in your approach to getting the word out there, don’t assume word of mouth from the bands will be enough. You’re working to celebrate someone’s talent & share it with others- never treat it like another day at the office.
Following the rise of socials on the internet, do you feel it’s helped or hindered the venue/live performances?
When used correctly, it’s definitely a great tool to help venues get in touch with wider audiences & share things in a more accessible way. People need to continue to get out there & see bands live, though. You can appreciate the talent of someone in the flesh so much more than through a video or a Spotify track.
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