Montreal

Popular music venue Le Divan Orange to close this spring

After 13 years and more than 10,000 shows, the Plateau-Mont-Royal music venue that helped start the careers of singers like Patrick Watson and Coeur de Pirate says its financial situation is too precarious to continue.

The Plateau-Mont-Royal venue will shut down due to its precarious financial situation

Montreal musicians, including big-time acts like Patrick Watson and Coeur de Pirate, got their start at Le Divan Orange. (Google Street View)

After 13 years and more than 10,000 shows, Le Divan Orange — which helped start the careers of singers like Patrick Watson and Coeur de Pirate — says its financial situation is too precarious to continue.

The Plateau-Mont-Royal music venue, located on St. Laurent Boulevard just above Rachel Street, says it will close its doors for good in the spring.

"It's really a combination of things," said Sophie Latouche, a member of the co-operative than runs Le Divan Orange.

"The increase in rent and taxes, the noise complaints, and finally, there is no public financing available for a music venue such as ours."

The venue did receive funding from the City of Montreal as well as the Plateau borough in 2014, to the tune of $50,000 for specific projects. 

It also held two crowdfunding campaigns to get financial support.

The co-op says it wasn't enough to stay afloat and that smaller venues such as theirs need continued financial support in order to survive.

Hub for emerging artists

Le Divan Orange has been a welcoming place for many of Montreal's independent artists since it opened its doors 13 years ago.

Artists such as Patrick Watson, Coeur de Pirate and Plants and Animals credit the venue for giving them their start.

Plants and Animals drummer Matthew Woodley recalled how a turning point in his career happened at that very venue.

"I was sitting at the door taking people's money for tickets, and they weren't all familiar faces and it was sort of this realization that, maybe something is happening with this band that we've got going," the drummer said.

"That place felt like a springboard for whatever career we've built."
Plants and Animals drummer Matthew Woodley says a turning point in the band's career happened at Le Divan Orange (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

A 'fragile' industry

The City of Montreal says it is forming a committee to look into how its smaller music venues are faring.

Other venues such as Les Bobards and l'Inspecteur Épingle have closed in recent years.

"We recognize that it's a problem that extends beyond the Divan Orange," said Christine Gosselin, the executive committee member responsible for heritage, culture and design.

"[We recognize] that a lot of places are fragile and that they provide a really valuable cultural service without getting any of the support, or any of the funding, that one gets for providing this absolutely essential input into our cultural landscape."

The city will get together stakeholders in the business community to discuss potential ways of helping the industry.

now