It’s the end of an era at the Marisco Club in Woolacombe. Owner Joey Dicker shared his memories of 25 years of family involvement.
The owner of North Devon’s longest running club is calling time – 25 years after his family took it on.
Joey Dicker announced on Tuesday he would be stepping down from running the Marisco Club in Woolacombe, an establishment that claims to be the longest running club in the UK.
Joey, 37, said he was reluctantly moving on due to health reasons.
He said: “It’s purely health reasons that we’re stepping down, otherwise I’d have quite happily stayed on.
“I could never imagine myself without it to be honest, that’s why it’s taken me so long to come out publicly and say that I can’t do it any more; I’ve known for a good couple of months.
“But now the summer’s coming, and it’s time to pass it on to the next person.”
Mary and Ian Dicker bought the club in 1990 when the Woolacombe venue became available; resurrecting it at a time when it looked like it could have closed for good.
Joey recalled the early days of the club.
“It was my parents who put all the serious hard work and graft in in the early days, picking the place up off its knees,” he said.
“In 1990 it was on the verge of closing down, but having worked up there under the previous owners and having such fond memories of the place, they fought tooth and nail to keep it alive.
“I remember endless court battles with the local council and police to get the later license it so rightly deserved.
“If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have had a nightlife in Woolacombe for the last 25 years; it’s as simple as that.”
Building a reputation
Over the next decade, word of mouth spread until Marisco earned itself a reputation as the place to go during the summer, with the venue hosting bands such as Reef and Bad Manners.
Joey has spoken about how he moved up the ranks – from a doorman to eventually taking the club on.
He said: “My first involvement with the club was actually as a teenager to take over my older brother Jimi’s role taking money on the door.
“I have to say I was without doubt the worst person for the job as I’d just let half the club in for free thinking ‘it’s ok we’re all just friends here’.
“Needless to say I didn’t last long there and my parents soon politely looked for other avenues I could be brought in to the business.
Joey eventually found his place in the club’s infrastructure as a resident DJ.
“When I was first DJing there in the 90s, we were open Wednesday to Saturday and from Thursday it was packed,” said Joey
“We’d have 500 people at capacity with no advertising, no posters, nothing. It was all word of mouth.”
He gradually took on the club in the early noughties, and built on his DJing roots by persuading guests to come and take a turn on the decks.
“The proudest night I put on was DJ Kentaro, he was a world champion DJ from Japan,” said Joey.
“He was in Paris on the Thursday and London on the Saturday. I managed to get him down here on the Friday, so he did Paris, Woolacombe, London in three nights!”
The Future of Marisco
Despite Joey stepping away from the club, he’s keen to make sure the legacy of Marisco is able to continue.
He said: “It’s been such an honour to be a part of and witness the progression of the place over our time.
“It’ll be open in the summer. I don’t know when the opening date will be, but someone will be taking it on in the next couple of months.
“We’re in negotiations with a few people, but it’s about whatever feels right.”