“Without grassroots music venues, there are no big acts. It’s as simple as that.” KT Tunstall
Pet Shop Boys, KT Tunstall, Russell Watson and Passenger have pledged to play gigs for ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’, the campaign to raise money for grassroots music venues at risk of closure. Two further artists will be announced on BBC Radio 6 Music during the station’s ‘State Of Independents Day’ on Thursday September 10th.
Pet Shop Boys will be performing at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, Russell Watson at Manchester’s Stoller Hall, Passenger at Brighton’s Komedia and KT Tunstall will be playing at two venues – Windmill Brixton and PJ Molloys in Dunfermline. The artists will be playing these celebratory intimate shows, on dates to be confirmed, when venues are able to open with no social distancing.
Entry to the shows will be via a prize draw which will run for three weeks from Monday September 14th until Monday October 5th via crowdfunder.co.uk/passport-back-to-our-roots. For a £5 minimum donation to the campaign, music fans will be entered into the draw to win passes to the show of their choice for themselves and a guest.
This announcement follows the news that £75,000 was raised from the first prize draw for entry to concerts by Elbow, Public Service Broadcasting, Everything Everything, The Slow Readers Club and Ash.
Sally Cook, co-founder of Passport: Back to Our Roots said “We’re blown away by the incredible response to the first block of fundraisers, and want to extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who donated, and to every artist who pledged to play a grassroots venue show. The outpouring of support (we read all the comments!) just proves how important grassroots venues are to the UK’s music fans. £75k is an amazing start and will help make a real difference to the venues involved and the sector as a whole, but we’re not stopping there. We are really excited to be announcing this new group of artists this week.”
Speaking about the campaign KT Tunstall said “Without grassroots music venues, there are no big acts. It’s as simple as that. The incredible eco-system of small venues exists, in the vast majority of cases, as labours of love. Constantly up against rapidly rising business rates and big developer interests, these essential community hubs are kept alive by often overworked owners and staff with an unending passion for music and the music lovers and musicians they serve.”
On returning to Brighton’s Komedia venue, Passenger said “I’m delighted to be able to play at the Komedia again! It’s a venue that I used to play frequently when I was starting out and it will be lovely to go back.”
Russell Watson, the Salford born classical singer, said “Grassroots venues were crucial in the development of my career. I spent almost nine years in the working men’s clubs in the North West of England before my touring career as a recording artiste. It’s heart-breaking to see so many of these venues – which are the fabric of our communities, where people gather to drink, procrastinate and be entertained – under such huge financial strain. Entertainment is essential to the U.K. It’s fundamentally crucial in driving a large part of our nation’s economy but also in the employment of hundreds of thousands of incredibly talented people – from lighting engineers to prima donnas. This is a time for us all to reflect on just what the entertainment industry means to us and to keep it alive during these most unprecedented times.”
Further groups of artists will be announced every month.