DHP Family, which operates four live music venues in the city, has expanded into London with the opening of the £1m Oslo
IT started life as a railway station but the two-storey Victorian building in Hackney is now home to the first Nottingham-owned live music venue in London.
Oslo, which sits next to Hackney Railway Station, is the sixth venue owned and operated by DHP Family, the city centre company that is best known for Rock City.
It also owns Rescue Rooms, The Bodega and Stealth, and a venue in Bristol called Thekla, promotes national tours for the likes of New Order, James Blunt, Nick Cave and Ed Sheeran, runs its own ticket agency, and manages artists.
The focus of the business, started with the opening of Rock City more than 30 years ago, has always been in Nottingham, where they also run the annual Splendour music festival.
Oslo, which opened at the weekend, marks their first venture in the capital.
“We had a storming opening night, the place was packed downstairs in the bar and upstairs,” says DHP Family chairman George Akins.
“We’ve brought something new to this part of London; great music, great food and great drink all in one place – and it’s gone down really well.”
The name is a dedication to George’s mum, who was born in Oslo.
“There’s a bit of family heritage in there, which we like; family has always been important to us.
“And she loves it. It’s the only venue of ours that she wants to come and see. She’s been telling all of our Norweigian family about it.
“Hackney is now twinned with Oslo, which was a complete coincidence.”
They opened an office nearby last year as part of the tour promotion side of the business.
“We book a lot of bands into London already so it made sense for us to have an office there. This is taking the next step and doing what we do in Nottingham so well, in London.”
The 600-capacity Oslo will operate as a live music venue, nightclub, bar and eaterie.
“It’s like the Rescue Rooms... but with food,” he says.
“Hackney is an up and coming area. It’s very cool, it attracts a lot of fashion businesses... and we saw a good opportunity there.”
Bands booked to play in the next few weeks include Dry the River, Chrome Hoof, Long Eaton’s Indiana and an NME show.
“We’re confident we can keep the momentum going and make Oslo one of the hottest venues in London.”
DHP Family is now handling tours for Ed Sheeran, James Blunt and Flaming Lips and recently won Live Promoter of the Year for the second year running.
“We’re putting on more gigs than ever before and they’re bigger shows. We’re putting Jake Bugg, You Me At Six and Frank Turner in to the Capital FM Arena.”
Among the festivals they organise is Splendour. So who do we have headlining this year?
“We’re still working on it but we’ll be announcing a few names for Dot to Dot next week.”
For more about Oslo go to facebook.com/oslohackney, on Twitter @oslohackney and oslohackney.com.