Swansong for King Street Live

By Nathan Crombie nathan.crombie@age.co.nz -
1 comment
SHUTDOWN: King Street Live owner Carl Schdroski (left) and bar manager Jason Ireland at the doors of the award-nominated venue, which is closing at the end of next month. PHOTO/NATHAN CROMBIE
SHUTDOWN: King Street Live owner Carl Schdroski (left) and bar manager Jason Ireland at the doors of the award-nominated venue, which is closing at the end of next month. PHOTO/NATHAN CROMBIE

Twice national award-nominated entertainment venue King Street Live is to close after a whirlwind three years of rocking the region with some of the best live music in New Zealand.

Managing director Carl Schdroski said shareholders had made the decision to shut the Masterton venue and bar - a novel business model opening mostly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday - at the end of next month.

He said waning community support for lesser-known acts, a low population and income range in Masterton, and changes to alcohol laws had combined to make the "usual struggle of staying afloat" unsurvivable.

Bar manager Jason Ireland said the lowering of the drink-driving limits at the end of 2014 had almost immediately evaporated the stream of patrons, and several attempts to coax punters back, like enhancing and widening the menu, the opening hours and the variety of acts, had not succeeded.

Mr Schdroski, who retails furniture in a neighbouring business and owns the building that houses the venue, said King Street Live had been an uphill climb since opening in 2013.

"It's been a battle since the very first day.

"We were running on a shoestring right from the start really, even though we had a lot of full houses and some of the best acts in New Zealand on our stage."

King Street Live was a national finalist in the 2013 New Zealand Hospitality Association Excellence Awards for the Best Music Entertainment Venue and was nominated as a finalist in 2014 in the same category, Mr Schdroski said, which was testament to the business that boasted sound equipment, sonics and acoustics "made by and for musicians".

There had been a parade of elite Kiwi performers on stage since Tiki Taane was venue-opener, including Dave Dobbyn, The Datsuns, The Adults, The Warratahs, Six60, Shihad, The Black Seeds, Hollie Smith, Phoenix Foundation, Ladi6 and Louis Baker.

TrinityRoots, featuring former co-owner of the venue Warren Maxwell, had also graced the stage. Maxwell and his brother Alan, who was the initial King Street Live manager, had both stepped away from the business about midway through last year.

Mr Schdroski said shareholders had chosen to "give things a last chance" about six months ago but trading had failed to improve despite the tide of top acts still clambering to perform at the venue.

"It's sad we're closing but it's been a mean three years. It's been phenomenal," he said.

There was still a possibility the business would continue, or be revived, but only if there were "any interested buyers out there".

"This is one of the best venues for sound quality in the country and you never know, there may be somebody who wants to keep it running.

"We're open to offers but at this point we had to make the decision. We can't do it anymore."

Mr Schdroski and Mr Ireland thanked the community of music lovers and performers throughout Wairarapa and beyond for their abiding and loyal support for the venue.

"We've got a big final month coming up at King Street Live and a farewell, and we're running the bar at Stonehenge for the Pink Floyd tribute show, so we'll be going out with a bang for sure."

Mr Schdroski said anybody interested in buying the venue could call him on 027 276 2600.

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