‘Safe space’: Musicians, artists pen ‘thank you’ messages as Conspiracy Garden Cafe bids farewell

August 2, 2022 - 11:12 AM
Empty chairs and tables fill the Conspiracy Garden Cafe in Quezon City (Conspiracy Garden Cafe/Facebook)

After nearly two decades, Conspiracy Garden Cafe located at 59 Visayas Avenue in Quezon City closed its doors.

“Over the succeeding 19 years, Conspiracy or Conspi has hosted and nurtured hundreds of songwriters, singers, poets, visual artists, and guests in the place, provided a safe place for hundreds of events and functions,” cafe’s Managing Director Raul Socrates Banzuela wrote

“The place has been a third space, aside from own home and office, especially to many millennials,” he added. 

Musicians and artists paid tribute to the cafe that served as their “safe space.” 

“Maraming salamat conspi sa opportunity laging tumugtog dyan. Ma-mi-miss namin kayo,” a member of the band The Stereo Scope wrote

“Conspiracy Garden gave us the space to discuss both our personal and political dramas and agendas. But now, as they serve their last menu, I would like to say thank you for letting us have a safe space for our art and to exercise our freedom to express ourselves,” a Facebook user wrote

Sen. Risa Hontiveros posted a photo performing with musician Noel Cabangon, who is one of the founders of the cafe, on Facebook to express gratitude and bid farewell to the cafe. 

Some artists shared their memories of the cafe. These include videos and photos of their performances at the Conspiracy stage.

“Hanggang sa muli, Conspiracy. Magkikita tayo muli. Salamat at paalam muna,” Filipino singer-songwriter Ebe Dencel wrote

The cafe was founded by Gary Granada, Noel Cabangon, Bayang Barrios, Cooky Chua, and Cynthia Alexander on Dec. 8, 2003. 

Since then, the cafe has inspired around 300 artists, activists, civil society workers, and public servants to showcase their craft.

Banzuela said there was a notice to vacate the place last July 26. The cafe was given a month to transfer operations. 

According to Banzuela, the landowner of the cafe has other plans for the place. 

The shareholders of the cafe will hold a shareholders’ meeting on August 19 to decide whether it will close as an institution or continue its operations in another place. 

On the same day, there will also be a farewell concert from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. until midnight.