A gig livestreamed by Frank Turner raised over £10,000 and saved Southampton’s The Joiners Arms from closure – as other grassroots venues call out for other artists to do the same.
Earlier this week, the Music Venue Trust told NME that they were in need of £1million in donations to save grassroots music spaces and prevent “a disaster that will last 10 years”. This follows the nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus and Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for pubs, bars clubs, restaurants and the like to close in the name of public safety.
Turner then hosted a Facebook Watch Party gig from his own home, urging fans to donate to the Southampton Joiners. At the time of publishing, £11,754 was raised.
#IndepependentVenueLove Volume 2!Fundraiser for The Joiners in Southampton.Love Ire & Song in full!https://www.gofundme.com/f/raising-money-for-the-joiners-staff
Posted by Frank Turner on Thursday, April 2, 2020
“We face an almost impossible uphill struggle to prevent the permanent closure of 556 grassroots music venues,” Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd told NME. “But last night that number was reduced by one in just 45 minutes by the action of just one artist; Frank Turner.
“Frank’s #IndependentVenueLove campaign raised over £10,000 for the Southampton Joiners. That takes that venue off the critical risk and gives MVT the breathing space required to be able to find the longer term support that venue needs. If 555 artists adopted 555 venues, we could save every single one. Or if our biggest artists adopted the whole cause, we could do the same. 45 minutes. That’s all we need.”
— Frank Turner (@frankturner) April 2, 2020
As gigs, festivals and tours continue to be cancelled, the Music Venue Trust had previously called for the 2022 Festival Of Britain to be pulled to fund measures to protect their grassroots spaces. While the government has pledged millions in loans and grants to such spaces to help them survive through temporary closure, the MVT claim that this is not enough; putting over 550 Grassroots Music Venues at risk – along with the threat of the permanent loss of over 5,000 jobs, over 100,000 concerts, over 300,000 performances by musicians, and over 1million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers.
“Everybody has problems right now, even our most established artists – we know that,” Davyd told NME. “Turning up with another ask at this point is difficult, but at some point everybody has to think about what this might look like when all of this is over. If we wake up the day after this is over and over 80% of our venues have disappeared, we are talking about a disaster that will last 10 years.
He continued: “We’re seeing the damage done by huge festivals and tours being cancelled, but in between all of that, we are asking all of these major companies and our biggest artists to help. We need £1million. That’s it. Give us £1million and we’ll give you a reasonable touring circuit.”
Donations to the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund can be arranged by contacting Beverley Whitrick at email@example.com, by calling 07809 155388, or by visiting their GoFundMe page here.
This week it was also revealed that a £5million fund set up for UK musicians struggling during the coronavirus crisis has run out. Those who want to make a donation to the hardship fund can do so here.