While running gigs in 2011-2012, we often has issues with venues. Lots of people didn’t want to deal with us and the only venues we that would take us were pubs, which is definitely not an ideal location for gigs for teenagers. All the while I had a pipe dream of opening our own venue.
One fateful day
One day I was walking home past a disused arthouse cinema and I saw a sign saying ‘Proposals invited’. The venue was perfect. City centre, detached on all sides, purpose built as an art venue, and with a name everyone in the city new, The Kino.
I figured what harm, and wrote up a proposal and sent it to the auctioneers. The auctioneer decided to meet with us and after less than a week later I had a set of keys and a five year lease. I was sixteen at the time and this is by far the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever done.
If the worst that can happen is someone says no, always ask. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
We thought, “Great. We’ll do a bit of a tidy up, put in a stage, remove the old seats, maybe knock a wall down and we’re good.” And off we went, thinking everything would go that easily.
It did not
Oh, the innocence of youth. We were so naïve. You know it’s said there are four categories of knowledge? Known knowns, known unknowns, unknown knowns, and unknown unknowns? There were a lot of unknown unknowns.
Planning permision, change of use, fire safety certificates, disability access certificates, incorporating a private limited company, getting clearance by the Health Service Executive, needing to redo the emergency lighting, hiring consulting engineers, finding leaks and having to replace the plumbing and downstairs bathroom…
It went on.
We just kept at it. Taking one thing off the to-do list at a time but we eventually got there.
It took us almost a year but on 21st June 2013, not too long after my seventeeth birthday, The Kino reopened as a multipurpose arts venue and café.
Persistance is key. If it’s not hard it’s probably not worth doing.
Hit the ground running
Our opening was a blast.
All our families and friends were there to see the result of all our hard work. We even had the Lord Mayor cutting a ribbon.
We had the café open six days a week and we had all sorts of events — from gigs, piano concerts, plays, film festivals, to discos. We had private events, everything from a 7th birthday party watching Doctor Who to my own 18th, to a 40th.
It was so much fun. We had spent a year of our lives stressing about opening the venue and we were finally running it.
It was not to last
Our iteration of The Kino was open for about fifteen months. In the end I think it was two main things that meant we didn’t last longer:
- Our availability. After the Summer when we opened, I went into my final year of school, one of my partners started in college and the other was in final year of university. Trying to run the business while all of us had other full-time commitments was never going to work.
- Our inexperience. Often I think inexperience can be a benefit as you’ll do things differently, but we were vastly underprepared to run a business of that scale. We did out best but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
I wish I could go back and do it again with all I’ve learned in the last five years but I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. It really developed my interest in business over music, got me my first few jobs afterwards, and got me a scholarship to UCC where I had an amazing four years.
I was upset with how things ended and it took me a while before I wanted to start something new but a few years later…