Sundays at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern are the stuff of gay scene legend – amazing cabaret, great DJs and fantastic crowds. As with all successful and long-lasting events, evolution is key and there have been a few changes down in Vauxhall. Dave Cross had a chin wag with Andy Wetson to get the lowdown.
Hi Andy, great to have you back involved with Sundays at The RVT, what is your role in the madness?
James Lindsay, the RVT’s CEO, is the promoter, but I have stepped back in to help publicise Sundays and to ensure we get the DJ roster just right. We’re keen to breathe new life into Sundays, but at the same time keep the very essence of what has made it successful for so long. James and I felt that the start of the year, with spring and summer ahead, was just the right time to make some changes and to relaunch Sundays with a blaze of publicity. It’s just a couple of weeks since we made the changes and already we’ve had three packed Sundays. The response has been very positive and there’s a buzz about Sundays again.
There’s been a few changes, different times etc, can you give us the headlines?
After 20 years of opening at 3pm and closing at midnight we decided to tighten the format. It makes more sense to open at 4pm and close at 10.30pm. A nine hour day works during the hotter months but less so during the colder autumn and winter. Already the customers are preferring the new opening times and are staying till close every week. Bank Holiday Sundays will be the extended hours format we’ve used for years, running till 3am.
The Beefmince boys are doing the first Sunday with Mother’s Best but the rest of the month is your area?
Yes, Mother’s Best, an exciting new promotion from the Beefmince team, is the first Sunday of every month and our own Sundays At The RVT, the other Sundays. We were keen to see if another promoter with great ideas could create something new for Sundays with a different cabaret line-up and music policy.
Which cabaret acts are your residents?
Mary Mac, Myra DuBois and Charlie Hides are residents and others will guest. We have the fabulous Lisa Q Jones on 17 February.
And there’s been a few new names to the venue since Christmas, will some of those be returning?
Over the Christmas period many cabaret artists are out of town appearing in pantos, so we had to find others who are not treading the boards. Miss Penny, Brenda La Beau and Shania Pain were all strong replacements and were well-received. They will definitely be back from time to time. We have other up-and-coming drag acts in our sights too. Watch this space.
What’s happening with the DJs and music?
The main difference now is that post-show we only have one DJ, till close at 10.30pm. It gives that DJ the chance to play a longer set and build the night as they see fit, dependent on the crowd that are in that week. Our regular DJ line-up is Phil Marriott, Craig Jones and Sean Sirrs alternating weeks with Simon Le Vans resident from 4pm-7pm every week. Chris Brogan, Neil Prince, David Robson and that Andy Almighty will guest. The music policy remains the same, uplifting commercial house, pop and chart hits and big room dance anthems on normal Sundays and retro party sets for Bank Holiday parties. Basically, the same accessible and euphoric sounds that the RVT is famous for championing on Sundays. Not too poppy, not too clubby – just fun and familiar. Our remit for Sundays has always been to create a friendly happy atmosphere. That’s exactly what Sundays At The RVT are.
Anything else we need to know?
You’ll see many other exciting changes at The RVT over the coming months. James has put together a great team of promoters, artists and DJs, as well as streamlining the operational side of the business. 2019 looks to be the most exciting in my 20 year involvement with the venue. It’s all about bringing new faces to the venue as well as keeping our dedicated and loyal customer base happy.
Entry is £5 member, £6 non members.
Mary Mac is on this Sunday at The Royal Vauxhall Tavern, 372 Kennington Lane, Vauxhall, SE11.