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O2 ABC left severely damaged after art school fire

The 150 year-old O2 ABC has been left severely damaged after the fire at neighbouring Glasgow School of Art spread to the venue's roof on Friday

By Molly Long on 18 Jun 2018

The damage of the O2 ABC

The damage to the roof of the O2 ABC is extensive.

image © Police Scotland

Glasgow’s music scene was in mourning this weekend after news broke that the fire that tore through the city’s School of Art had also left the O2 ABC with severe damage. 150 firefighters battled against the blaze on Friday night, but could not save the building’s roof, which collapsed after all staff and customers were evacuated to safety.

For over 150 years, the 1,300 capacity venue has been at the centre of culture and entertainment in Glasgow. The venue began life as The Diorama in 1875. Since then, it has been home to an ice rink, a cinema and a circus ring. As of 2018, the ABC was a popular and intimate venue, and also host to Europes largest disco ball.

In a statement released today, Graham Walters, chief operating officer of the Academy Music Group says: “We would like to thank the emergency services, especially the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, whose instantaneous action prevented any casualties, and for that they must be whole-heartedly commended.

“The events of Friday night have devastated so many in our industry who share our sadness.”

Following the news, a number of acts have expressed their sadness and the loss of the iconic venue. Glaswegian band Glasvegas took to Twitter to say they were “gutted” to hear about the news.

Fellow Scottish musicians Frightened Rabbit also tweeted their upset, saying: “Glasgow is hurting but will recover.”

The O2 ABC usually hosts an average of 400 events every year, playing host to all genres of music. With such a packed calendar, the news of such severe damage has made upcoming events and plans uncertain.

On the night of the fire, tribute band Foo Fighters GB was scheduled to play. Posting on their Facebook page, the band said: “It is with massive regret that we have to inform everyone that tonight’s Glasgow gig at the O2 ABC Glasgow cannot go ahead due to an horrific fire in the building.

“We hope everyone in the area is OK and are awaiting further info.”

Some bands scheduled to play at the ABC in the coming days and weeks, including Foo Fighters GB, have been offered the use of surrounding venues so the show may go on. American band Belly managed to play their Saturday show at the nearby venue The Garage.

In the statement released today, Academy Music Group explained it was taking the utmost care to rearrange upcoming gigs. However it also said the future of the venue itself is uncertain as the venue continues to be under the control of emergency services: “At this point in time, we do not have any further comment regarding the future of O2 ABC Glasgow.”


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