Bristol’s favourite not-for-profit bike cafe Roll for Soul have announced that they will be closing come the end of 2017. Opening in July 2013 after the efforts of many volunteers and an astonishing crowfunding campaign that saw the team raise £13,000 to open the space, Roll for the Soul brought a much needed space for those in Bristol who liked to do things a little differently.
Masses of DIY gigs were put on at the cafe, from Trust Fund to Martha to Doe all gracing the venue and with RftS runner Rob Wall being one of Bristol’s biggest music fans, it was always a night to remember. They even released their own compilation record back in 2014.
Announcing the news on their social channels, the team wrote:
We’re sorry to say that we’ll be closing at the end of 2017. It’s still some way off at the time of writing (September), but now that the decision’s been made we want to let people know.
We have a choice about whether to renew our lease for another five years from early 2018. After looking at how likely it is that we’d be able to run a viable business throughout that time, we’ve decided: not likely enough to be worth the risk.
If we call time at the end of the year, we can go out making sure that everyone gets paid for their work, all our suppliers get paid, and we don’t leave a mess behind. We can do it with dignity and on our terms. If we commit to another five years, it may well not be so clean and tidy.
There are lots of reasons why we’ve reached this conclusion, but the simplest explanation is that it’s become more and more difficult to be profitable. We’ve looked at lots of things that we could do to make more money, or spend less. But it’s difficult to see a solution that avoids compromises we don’t want to make.
We’re so grateful for the support we’ve had over the last four years. It’s been a humbling and joyful experience to meet so many great people, to have so many people help us out, and to be part of an enormous, diverse and wonderful network of individuals and organisations who stand for something better than profit-at-all-costs. We’ll try to thank as many of you as we can in person over the coming months.
So we’ll be gone from Quay Street come Christmas. At the moment it’s our intention to continue as normal until then, but that may change as people find other work. We’ll keep you posted.
We’d really love these last few months to be fun and full of bikes, talks, workshops, music and all the other stuff that brings people together under our roof. It’s sad to be going, but it’s good to have been here, so we’d like to celebrate that. Please join in if you’d like to.
What Roll for the Soul has done for Bristol – and its music scene – hasn’t gone unnoticed. It will be sorely, sorely missed and we wish the RftS team all the luck in the world.