Sheffield’s Leadmill react to Arctic Monkeys’ raffle raising £100,000: “To them it’s a guitar, to us it’s a lifeline”

The raffle closes at 6pm on Tuesday August 25.

The Leadmill in Sheffield have shared their gratitude after Arctic Monkeys raised over £100,000 through a charity raffle of frontman Alex Turner’s guitar.

Earlier this month, the Steel City natives launched a raffle of Turner’s black Fender Stratocaster (which he used for many of the band’s early performances, including gigs at The Leadmill and Reading Festival in 2006) to help raise money for the Sheffield venue and other independent grassroots venues in the UK which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The band’s Crowdfunder campaign and raffle was launched to help stricken venues in conjunction with the Music Venue Trust and their #SaveOurVenues campaign, andremains open until 6pm on Tuesday August 25 – but the £100,000 target has already been smashed.

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“I can’t believe we’re over £100,000,” Leadmill general manager Rebecca Walker told NME. “That’s an insane amount of money and will go so far to securing not only the bricks and mortar of venues, but also their key members of staff.

“We so humbled and so grateful. We couldn’t thank the guys enough for listening to us and allowing us to reach out to them, but also just their generosity. To them, it’s just a guitar but to us it’s a lifeline – it’s a matter of whether a venue can stay open or not.”

Asked about how they came to team up with the band, Walker said: “Everyone in Sheffield knows someone who knows someone who knows Arctic Monkeys. You can’t go very far in the city without someone having a story about them. I happen to know someone with a connection to them so we reached out back in April and then their management said, ‘We’ve actually been speaking with them and they were asking about you guys to see if you were alright’. It was so great to know that no matter how big they get or where they are in the world, they’re still concerned with the crisis of how venues are doing back home. They were only too happy to help.”

“People are donating from across the world, from Japan to Brazil, as well as our backyard in Hillsborough and Crookes.”

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Asked if she had a message for Alex Turner and co, Walker told NME:  “Thank you so much and you are forever welcome to play on our stage! I can’t wait for whenever they come over to Sheffield so I can them the biggest hug – socially distanced of course, if needs be by then. This is going to go such a long way to ensure that people can keep their jobs and see that venues can keep existing.”

Visit here to enter the raffle before 6pm on Tuesday August 25, with each entry costing a minimum of £5. As well as having the chance to win Turner’s guitar, everyone who enters the raffle will gain access to an exclusive viewing of the band’s 2006 performance at Reading Festival, which will be broadcast on an invite-only basis at 8PM on August 26 (it’ll then be available to re-watch for 24 hours).

This weekend, the UK government have announced the first 135 grassroots music venues across England that will receive emergency grants from the £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund. However, many venues say that they’re “still in desperate need of fan support” in order to survive.

Last week saw Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, declare that performers no longer need to have “extra social distancing” on stage following the results of a new study. This comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed for indoor gigs in the UK to return with social distancing measures in place, but the Music Venue Trust revealed that over two thirds of venues would be unable to do so.

Visit here to donate to the Save Our Venues campaign or buy special new gifts and merchandise.

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