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Vanbrugh College closes Garage following vandalism

Image credit: Jack Harvey
Photo credit: Jack Harvey
Photo credit: Jack Harvey

Following acts of vandalism, the University of York’s Vanbrugh College has temporarily closed the college music practice space, the Garage.

Georgina Heath, Vanbrugh’s College Officer, informed members of Vanbrugh Rocks at the weekend that the practice space would be closed and bookings for it would be suspended in response to “wilful damage done to the drum kit” committed over the Easter holidays.

Vanbrugh College’s Garage is a practice space for budding musicians and bands, featuring a full drum kit, an electric keyboard, several guitar amplifiers and cables for electric and bass guitars. The Garage also houses a small recording studio for recording practices.

Membership to Vanbrugh Rocks enables musicians to benefit from workshops on recording, guitar amp construction and instrument tuition. All members of Vanbrugh Rocks sign a contract indicating their promise to keep the practice space tidy, to report damaged equipment and to treat the space and its volunteers with respect. Members agree responsibility for damaged instruments, including the payment of damages. The drum kit, the most expensive instrument in the space, is not to be dismantled.

Unfortunately, over the Easter period, the drum kit and nearby instruments have been subject to huge amounts of damage, with the drum kit requiring full replacement. Georgina Heath has disclosed that several of the people responsible for the Garage’s maintenance and upkeep are in two minds as to whether to support the project any more.

Yesterday Heath released a second email to Vanbrugh Rocks, explaining that in future, all food and drink will be forbidden in the Garage. Secondly, the College is considering the installation of CCTV cameras. Heath wrote:

In addition, we are considering putting up a CCTV camera to monitor the space.  As those of you who have been with the project for a long time will be aware, I have always resisted putting up cameras in the space, preferring for artists not to have the pressure of being monitored when they are creating, even if it meant occasionally putting up with having to set something right. Sadly, it has come to a point where we just cannot keep up with the level of damage. I hope that any negative pressure felt by those using the space will be mitigated slightly by the knowledge that this will not include sound and it will be viewed only by staff when damage is done.

In future, musicians wishing to use the space must contact Georgina Heath and agree to follow strict rules on respecting the musical environment.

Any information concerning damage to the instruments and equipment in the Garage over Easter would be greatly appreciated by Vanbrugh College’s team.

The Vanbrugh Junior Common Room Committee (JCRC) Chairman, Simon Irwin, has been contacted by The Yorker for comment.