Hermann’s Jazz Club is moving into the next stage of its musical life in Victoria, now that Arts on View Society has signed a five-year lease to take over management.
The society, formerly known as Jazz on View, takes over both Hermann’s at 753 View St. and the next door View Street Social Club as of July 15 after months of negotiations with the owners, Stephan and Edward Nieweler and Ingrid Reid, the children of the club’s late founder Hermann Nieweler.
“It’s been a long journey, so this is very exciting,” said Ashley Wey, director of the Arts on View Society and booking manager for Hermann’s.
After negotiations became public the society had five weeks to fundraise $100,000 for operating costs and initial upgrades.
“We did it in three-and-a-half weeks, we have tremendous support,” Wey said, adding that she herself is a life-long patron. “I’ve been playing in the club since I was 13 years old and love it, as do so many others … It’s an institution in Victoria.”
The society now has a couple weeks to transfer all the proper licensing and do inventory before it officially opens the doors. Jazz fans jammed the venues recently, as a number of concerts were staged at each during the TD Victoria International JazzFest.
While it wants to stay true to Hermann Nieweler’s vision, the society also looks to expand the club’s performances during non-festival times.
“We have a big vision. We want to assume the whole building and open up the top floor and have live music and all kinds of art forms in the top,” Wey said, adding that theatre, flamenco classes and more are planned.
“We want to nurture creativity in the capital city, and have a venue in the downtown core with capacity and purpose.”
Upgrades will also roll out gradually, including new carpeting as a hoped-for bar and kitchen renovation.
Several special events are scheduled in the upcoming month to celebrate the lease acquisition, including a public event on July 31 which will include performer Kelby MacNayr and jazz bassist Neil Swainson.