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Why Bassmnt Nightclub Suddenly Closed: Exclusive Interview with General Manager

October 6, 2015 - by Molly Sinclair

SAN DIEGO, CA - Last Wednesday, downtown San Diego's Bassmnt Nightclub announced an abrupt closing to the club after 2.5 years of being in business. The announcement came as a shock to most, with even many industry heads having no premonition about the sudden closing.

Run by Identity Management Group, Bassmnt nightclub hosted some of the biggest names in the dance music world, from trance pioneers Aly & Fila and Markus Schulz, to house legends Benny Benassi and Eric Prydz, just to give an idea of the scope of the nightclub. Skrillex even appeared last month to play a surprise set.

Since Eventvibe hosted two nights at Bassmnt a week, many people have asked me, "WHY?" I got the chance to ask the General Manager, John Choi about what happened. Here's the exclusive interview, along with some backstory about how the industry has changed over the years in San Diego.

Molly Reports: It's been 2.5 years since Bassmnt opened its doors. Has the industry changed since you first opened? How so?

John Choi: The industry and more important the market has definitely changed tremendously since we opened. We went from a 2 EDM club market to 3-4 EDM club market. The caliber of artists have risen tremendously, contrary to falling attendance of Gaslamp in general, and lower revenue per property.

Do you think 2.5 years is a short or a long time for a club to survive in downtown San Diego right now?

I think looking at the trend, the average life cycle of clubs in Gaslamp have fallen due to the increased competition. The number of operational nightclubs in Gaslamp in general have almost doubled since we opened, which affects consumer behavior, which affects the life cycle. In other markets like LA, the life cycle of nightclubs fall within the 2-3 year parameter before remodel or rebrand, outside of couple exceptions.

What drove Bassmnt to finally shut its doors after throwing some of the biggest dance music events in San Diego?

Our president and owner Richard Kelly decided to sell the property and focus on our Orange County properties, Sutra Nightclub and La Vida Cantina, as well as our other future projects.

Was there a reason behind choosing not to throw one final party?

Quick sale of the property did not allow us to plan out a farewell party.

What were some of the most memorable moments over the past couple years?

So many to list... Some of the biggest artists in the industry like DVBBS played their first San Diego show at Bassmnt before they achieved international fame. It was really special to see their progression and growth as artists. Our Eric Prydz show was also really special, as he did an extender 3+ hour set which was mind blowing. And our 'Daybreak' parties on New Years Day was probably one of the wildest parties that SD has seen.

What is your next move? Will Bassmnt management shift to a new club or venture?

Some of the management will be transferring to Sutra, and some of the management team will be working on other independent ventures.

It's been an awesome ride with Eventvibe. We'll miss you guys a lot!

Thanks, John. We'll miss you guys, too.

--Molly Reports

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