By Rose Barrett
Fans of Jam Park and the business community at Airside Swords were shocked last week when the entertainment venue announced its imminent closure.
“Unfortunately, we’ve got some bad news: we are closing our site at Airside in Swords for good,” stated the company on their website and social media forums.
“We’ve tried our best to come to an agreement regarding our lease since the Covid pandemic forced us to close… we are now left with no choice but to close and look for somewhere else.”
The three storey multi-purpose entertainment centre expected to open this week with a 30-40 person workforce, and staff figures were expected to increase over the coming weeks as lockdown restrictions lifted.
The venue at Airside Retail Park was due to host a government-piloted nightclub event in late July.
In response to its closure, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin, TD tweeted:
“I’m sorry to hear this news. The Night-Time Taskforce will give their recommendations this month so we can put appropriate supports in place for organisations like Jam Park which are vital for a rich nightlife.” The Green Party deputy added her department were “currently working on a new venue for our pilot club night.”
Jam Park’s statement read: “From the very start, we had a saying: ‘play the long game’…we knew it would take us at least 2-3 years to make this set of notions work.
“When we opened in summer 2019, games, live music shows, club nights, Eatyard food vendors, markets, talks, film screenings, bingo, big screen and sound sports, fitness classes, and even a rooftop farm were all part of the Jam Park gameplan.”
However, the Swords entertainment centre only had 9 months in operation when Covid struck.
It was ironic claimed management that during lockdown closures, the venue built a “great team, streaming weekly online games events, resetting our outside areas with a summer festival feel, growing fruit and veg on the rooftop, not to mention hundreds of incoming table bookings and events – we developed a great sense of optimism about the future.”
But, management noted, all that was now gone, and “to be told the news one week prior to re-opening was a bitter pill to swallow.”
The company must source a new venue, and appealed to the public to help it source alternative leads and storage space.
“Now we need to find somewhere else to play.”
Cancellation notices will be sent out to all who had secured bookings with Jam Park. It further thanked the amazing team who had worked at the Airside centre – and stated its commitment to secure an alternative venue and employment for the team in the future.