The Mercat is more than just an underground basement beneath a hotel in the North of the City of Melbourne. The Mercat is a place where friends were made, lovers were connected and some of the city’s best artists were able to bloom and flourish into the talent that they’ve become today.
In light of the recent devastating news that the Melbourne electronic music home away from home will be closing down in February, Melbourne dance music lovers have decided to band together in their last attempts to prevent the closure of what they consider an institution.
The Mercat Basement was the beginning for favourites C Grade and Animals Dancing and hosted the talents of Jeff Mills, Four Tet, Floating Points, Soulwax, Darkside, Moritz von Oswald and more.
“I’ll never forget rocking up to C Grade’s birthday at 8am to be greeted by an infinite amount of smoke and strobe lights with the fellas playing Time by Pachanga Boys into Blue Monday by New Order. Or the most recent weekend with Spin Club ending past 9am with All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem and everyone had their shirts off. The Mercat is an institution,” said Mitchell Gee of Autosea, “nothing compares to it and nothing will ever be like it again.”
Due to the Queen Victoria Market redevelopment, The Mercat is closing down for good and due to the unique and one-of-a-kind structure of the basement, there will be no relocating or ability to replicate The Mercat, meaning that this is well and truly the end.
“I’ll chain myself to the decks if I have to,” says Josh Keys of Spin Club. “The Mercat was one of the first venues I can remember being exposed to the various styles of dance music that I truly fell in love with, so on a personal level it will always hold a special place in my heart.
“As for the Melbourne dance community, I think the physical aesthetic and unique ‘no bullshit’ vibe is something that will be sorely missed. The space is so obviously designed for dancing and not a whole lot else, which for me is what going to a club is all about.
“The scene here in Melbourne is going strength to strength at the moment, but the close of the Mercat definitely feels like the end of an era. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the birth of a new venue that’s as dark, yet as friendly as that basement at 7am. Rest in Peace.”
What would you do to keep The Mercat open?
“I would say buying back the building, but that’s just the pragmatic in me,” says Samuel Navarro (Acid Safari) of Piknic Electronik, Melbourne.
“I’d do literally anything- even if it would take going on a hunger strike whilst sleeping in the smoke machine,” Paul Lynch of Autosea told us.
Adrian Bell of Bunker said that he had signed and shared a petition but wasn’t sure much more could be done.
“Honestly, I don’t think there could have been much done to save one of Melbourne’s most iconic venues from being redeveloped into another clerical apartment block.
It would be a shame to see it go, no doubt, but as Robert Montgomery once said, “All palaces are temporary palaces”. It’s not all doom and gloom though, there will be another venue to take its place and, in a way it’s somewhat good news as now there is a hole in the market for a dingy underground club. It forces the hand of venue owners and promoters to find a replacement. Rest in Peace!”
Do you want to be a part of keeping The Mercat open? Share, tag your friends and help us create a last-chance movement towards keeping the doors open to an institution that can never be replaced.