Winnipeg may be losing two of its music venues this summer. Rumours that have been flying for weeks and are now confirmed: the buildings that hold the Royal Albert Arms and the Collective Cabaret have been sold and may not re-open with live music inside. Both venues were owned by Wayne Towns and booked by Sam Smith.
The legendary Royal Albert was sold to Daren Jorgenson, who owns Vault Salon and Spa next door. Jorgenson has indicated that the 94-year-old Royal Albert, an historical Exchange District hotel in addition to a venue, may be turned into a boutique hotel or condos. There may be room for live music, but it's unlikely to cater to Winnipeg's punk and metal scene as the Royal Albert has done for years. The Albert has been the stomping ground for hundreds of Manitoba acts over the years, and has been an integral part of the development of a flourishing local music scene. It has also been a destination for some pretty recognizable names, like Green Day, Nickelback, MxPx, Husker Du, Danko Jones, NOFX, Dayglo Abortions, and Sloan.
Osborne Village's Collective Cabaret and the upstairs Die Maschine dance club was sold last week to popular L.A-based clothing giant American Apparel. The 200-seat Collective has housed everything from indie rock to hardcore to folk over the years, with local as well as international touring acts. It is one of the few small music venues in Winnipeg dedicated entirely to music. The Collective's last show will be August 30.
Musicians and fans alike are mourning the loss of two beloved venues, which were home to dedicate and fiercely loyal music communities.
The business communities appear pleased by both sales, which are expected to increase the desirability and retail image of both Osborne and the Exchange.
Smith suggested -- in an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press in July 11's edition -- that another venue or venues will open up if demand for venues like the Albert and the Collective continue.