A RENOWNED musician and a leading Colchester councillor have called for a nightclub to become a concert venue when it closes next month.

ATIK will shut its doors after a farewell party on June 3 following seven years of hosting nights out for partygoers in Colchester High Street.

A club spokesman said issues with attracting 18 and 19 year olds to the venue had proved key to its downfall.

Orchestra leader Nigel Hildreth, who famously taught Blur’s Damon Albarn and Graham Coxon music at Stanway School, has urged someone to breathe new life into the building.

Gazette: Call for action - Pam Cox and Nigel Hildreth outside ATIK in Colchester High StreetCall for action - Pam Cox and Nigel Hildreth outside ATIK in Colchester High Street (Image: Newsquest)

He said the huge success of the Blur concert at Colchester Arts Centre on Friday night shows there is an appetite for a new large venue for music.

“It could be a fantastic venue for large rock gigs, jazz and classic music. It would be a terrible shame to see it empty,” said Nigel Hildreth, conductor of the Colne Valley Youth Orchestra.

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“Colchester Arts Centre performs an amazing service for our city but we often miss out on gigs by bigger groups because we don’t have a venue of the right size,” he added.

Mr Hildreth’s call has been backed by Pam Cox, who was Colchester Council's culture and heritage chief prior to the election.

Gazette: What a night - Blur performed at Colchester Arts Centre on FridayWhat a night - Blur performed at Colchester Arts Centre on Friday (Image: Phoebe Fox)

She said: “The news of ATIK’s closure is a blow to the city centre but a new approach could give the building a new lease of life.

“ATIK started life as the Grand Theatre of Varieties in 1905 and the interior is amazingly well-preserved.

“Let’s make it a music venue again. I’d love to see it become a big music destination, a place that all residents can enjoy and one that will draw visitors to Colchester.”

Both Mr Hildreth and Ms Cox said they were “closely involved” in bringing Blur back to Colchester for their sell-out gig on Friday.

Gazette: Nightclub - ATIK is set to close next monthNightclub - ATIK is set to close next month (Image: N/A)

They believe such success could be repeated in the future by attracting other big names to the city.

Speaking during the gig, Blur frontman Damon said: "I don't think we have actually ever played Colchester, so sorry it took us so long.

"It has been an absolute pleasure. You have been a magnificent audience."

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