Historically the buildings now occupied by MK11 were cowsheds and barns, on farmland that included brick kilns for building nearby houses.
In the early 70s the site was redeveloped by the Milton Keynes Development corporation, back when Milton Keynes was in it's embryonic stages. The newly refurbished and renovated premises was a used as a purpose built sport and social club and squash courts for employees of the Milton Keynes Development Corporation, and passed through different committees up until the mid 2000's, until the costs to upkeep the building and dwindling turnover forced the sale of the site to private buyers.
The private buyers were a group of people who were members and regulars at the sports and social club, who wished to see the continuation of sporting, music and social events at the historic site.
The building was set out to tender for private companies to run as a public house in the late 2000's, and passed hands a few times over the years.
In 2008, Giles, who runs The White Hart in Sherington decided to take on Kiln Farm Club as a side-venture. He refurbished the space and opened the venue as a pub. Marc & Simon came on board working on the bar and kitchen. After some years working for Giles, Marc & Simon became business partners, and after some time Giles decided to leave to concentrate on his village pub. Without the faith Giles put in Marc & Simon to run his pub in those early days, the MK11 story wouldn't have ever come to be.
With full control of the creative direction of the premises the new owners, Marc & Simon embarked on changing the business model to fully incorporate the original intentions of the buildings usage, and make it viable in the 21st century. Hence in December 2012, MK11 Live Music Venue & Sports Bar was born.
Marc & Simon re-connected with local sound and lighting engineers Dave Wilkie & Pete Knight, who both previously worked at The Pitz on Woughton Campus. Also brought into help put together shows was Jon Ellams, a local musician and promoter. Together was born the plan to launch MK11 as brand new live music venue. The joint venture plans and use of equipment with DW Audio (Dave's audio company) allowed the MK11 story to take shape.
The aim of MK11 is to contribute to and enhance the cultural and social activities available to the people of Milton Keynes and beyond. Milton Keynes is a growing city and is home to globally iconic music brands such as Yamaha Music and Marshall Amplification. As our city grows we aim to help put Milton Keynes on the music map as our region becomes the centre of UK population growth. We want to bring great music acts to Milton Keynes and help nurture home-grown talent, providing local artists with a platform to play to as many people as possible.
MK11 started from a few ambitious conversations in 2011. It was built with zero financial investment and has grown organically over time from the small profits it's made over the years. MK11 is 100% independent, from the independent freeholders, to the two local brothers who own and operate the business. MK11 is free from ties to breweries, and is free to operate solely on it's own terms.
In 2019 MK11 begins the next stage in it's development as it makes improvements to the live music offering with a higher capacity venue area and a dedicated sports bar and restaurant. Reaching out to local sporting teams, MK11 will also become home to a number of football teams, as we aim to increase our support for local sports clubs.
Milton Keynes is at a very significant fork in the road in terms of its development. The town could fast become a carbon copy of the commercial elements of every other city in the UK, with the talented and eager young musicians and artists leaving for the more culturally rich environments of London, Bristol, Brighton and Manchester. We could be left with all the familiar brands on our high streets and shopping centres, while we collectively scratch our heads as we try to figure out what our cultural identity as a city is. Or we can all fight to make Milton Keynes a hub of independent spirit, with local people making businesses that mean something to them and others, encouraging our young people to stay here and be creative, and contribute a richer culture of our new city.
The story of Milton Keynes is a very exciting one, which is being written every day. We hope to be a part of the story and contribute to a successful and vibrant city for all of us to enjoy together.