Often lovingly dubbed “the place where the fun never ran out”, The Crypt was at the forefront of the Hastings music scene for nearly 30 years until it closed its doors in February 2011. That is, of course, until it re-opened them late last year.
More than just alternative rock bands, The Crypt prided itself on having something for everyone. Alongside rock groups like Kasabian, Jazz icons like Gil-Scott Heron played the Hastings circuit from The Crypt’s decidedly small stage.
It also provided a stepping stone for some of Britain’s up-and-coming musical talent. Breakout DJ and record producer John Digweed, alongside progressive house star DJ Danny Howells both made their start playing sets at The Crypt and other, local clubs before moving on to London and beyond.
Though the big-name acts and links to the local music scene helped, The Crypt was always more than the sum of its parts.
“The Crypt was just a great place to be” said resident DJ Charly Cheeba, who had performed at The Crypt for 23 years.
“Yes, it smelled a bit. Yes, the paint was invariably peeling off the walls, and, yes, on occasion, we had to do a bit of wading when the drains backed up and overflowed. But none of that mattered. Because a club isn’t just its four walls or its fixtures and fittings or even the people who run it. It is the people who go there and The Crypt had absolutely the best crowd you could ever wish for.”
Though it’s doors were closed, The Crypt was never truly dead. Indeed, the historic club re-opened in November last year, just under a decade after it first closed and in exactly the same place on Havelock Road.
Now fully decked out with cutting edge lighting and sound systems, refurbished facilities and a luxury backstage area for visiting bands, the new club hoped to do away with the peeling paint of the original “toilet circuit” but preserve its irrepressible punk spirit.
The club reasserted its presence on the Hastings music scene with an emphatic opening night on November 15, playing host to Jesus Jones, the Wiltshire Rock band who rose to fame after releasing their 1990 hit Right Here, Right Now.
Looking to the new decade The Crypt’s owners are set on expanding the venue’s musical offerings to include everything from hip-hop grime, rap, funk, soul blues and more. They are also interested in making it available as a community space, fit for corporate meetings and local groups and youth development schemes throughout Hastings.
To find out more about The Crypt and keep an eye on upcoming gigs, visit their webiste: www.thecrypthastings.co.uk.