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Teens lose out big time

PUBLISHED: 17:15 06 August 2008 | UPDATED: 17:16 16 August 2010

PRAISE: Rockers Billy Rebel say the Underground gigs were the liveliest they have played.

PRAISE: Rockers Billy Rebel say the Underground gigs were the liveliest they have played.

A GIG night for teenagers has been axed after it failed to make any profit. The Big Gig, headlined by metal band Antikid, is due to end

A GIG night for teenagers has been axed after it failed to make any profit. The Big Gig, headlined by metal band Antikid, is due to end The Churchill Theatre's series of monthly alcohol-free nights aimed at under-18s on August 16.

Bromley councillors gave the theatre money to launch the kids' Underground in 2007, but this year The Churchill has not made enough money to continue.

Rockers Billy Rebel played the Danson Festival this year and at Dartford's Mick Jagger Centre, but they said the crowd at Underground is the liveliest by far.

Singer and double bassist Matt Rogers, of Pinewood Avenue, Sidcup, said: "It's a real shame it's closing. The place was always packed.

"They are the best gigs to play because the kids are so excited and there purely for the music. They dance constantly and go absolutely mental."

Billy Rebel is due to play at Underground's farewell night, but Mr Rogers, 21, was scathing of The Churchill's decision to axe the night.

He said: "It was poorly organised. They just didn't seem to advertise it. It was all done through word of mouth.

"They just sat back and expected people to turn up."

Underground lacked profits from alcohol sales, but musicians also suppose teenagers would not be able to afford the normal £4 entry fee.

Ben Elliot, bassist with Dartford metal band Enemy Embrace, said similar nights in Gravesend and Swanley have been success stories.

The 17-year-old West Kent College student said: "Other nights I know about are not held as often, but they are all popular.

"Teenagers like them because the atmosphere is so friendly and it is safe. You get some people who want to drink alcohol, but most aren't bothered.

"I don't see why it is closing. It was usually packed."

A spokesperson from The Churchill said: "We were grateful to Bromley council for providing initial funding through Connect to get the current season started.

"Unfortunately, alternative funding is not available to plan a new season."

Bromley council was unavailable for comment.

The Big Gig opens from 5pm to 10pm and will be held in the theatre's main auditorium as opposed to the usual stalls bar.

Tickets are £10 on the door, or £8 if you book ahead with the box office on 0870 060 6620, or on the website: www .churchilltheatre.co.uk

jules.cooper@archant.co.uk

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