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Oslo venue Sound Of Mu closing down

Oslo venue Sound Of Mu has announced that it is closing cancelling all scheduled autumn shows after they found they could not plug the deficit left by a third party managing the bar. The venue lost its alcohol license last year, and an outside manager came in to take over the running of the restaurant and bar, but a year later quit, leaving debts as the venture had been runing at a loss. Sound Of Mu are unable to bridge the gap, and so the venue is closing.

Barry Kavanagh, an original member of the collective which ran Sound Of Mu, managing the venue from 2007–2012, says he's philosophical about its demise: "Everything has its time, he says, "and to have an idealistic project run by a collective who are not interested in money last eight and a half years is quite an accomplishment. We've lost our venue now, but we still have our artistic connections, both in and outside Norway."

As of September, the venue will morph into a sporadic event programmer, putting on approximately six or seven shows a year (rather than the 300+ they had been programming). They have been received some funding from the Norwegian Arts Council for their first batch of Oslo shows to fund the continuation of the concert series Vinduet.

Since Mu opened, Kavanagh says he's seen a growth in small venues programming events. "Mu is a reminder that collective action is possible. There is a tradition in Norwegian culture of this, and I'm optimistic that the next generation will come up with something exciting."

What won't be able to coninue are Mu's exhibitions, which were integrated into the performance space: "It was not only customers, but other artforms, that had to interact with the art," says Kavanagh, "so for example there'd be some madly oversized sculpture of a cardboard box, and a band would turn up and be told "You'll be playing inside this tonight!' So musicians were forced to deal with art, and vice versa," he explains. "We were being creative, and although this was not always understood in Oslo, by the local government, etc, our aims were purely artistic. So something unique has gone."

Sound Of Mu want to begin putting together a book about the venue, and anyone with contributions of photos or texts can email A full statement from the venue is online here.


i think you actually should point out that MU always ran at a loss of some degree & debts were cleared each year by certain members. your artical does make it sound as though the newer manager caused all debts & forced MU to close. this is incorrect.

I was interviewed for this, but was not the source of the financial information.

As it happens, Mu did not in fact lose money each year, but it certainly was doing so in 2012 before the new management took over, and unfortunately it was in a bad position again in 2014.

Barry Kavanagh.

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