It’s no secret that the hospitality industry has been incredibly hard hit over the course of the pandemic. Restaurants have been left empty, bars doors have been firmly shuttered and don’t even get us started on music venues.
Music venues up and down the country have been firmly closed for the last nine months, forced to switch off the flashing stage lights, pull the plug on the sound systems and thrust their doors shut for an unknown amount of time. And over nine months later they’ve been left shattered, with little hope of reopening any time soon due to social distancing restrictions, fearful audiences too scared to venture out into crowds (when allowed to do so) and little help from government support.
Several musicians have been raising awareness about the risk of the live music scene, but one independent musician whose gone above and beyond is Frank Turner, the singer-songwriter from Meonstoke, Hampshire.
Back at the beginning of lockdown 1.0 when the venues were first forced to close up shop for an unprecedented amount of time, Frank Turner took to his own home stage and live streamed gigs in the hope of raising money for music venues across the country. Through these multiple gigs, Turner managed to raise just under £200,000 through donations from supporters, fans and lovers of live music to help out some of the most hard hit venues across the UK.
Of course, it’s worth noting here that many venues did get a little financial support thanks to the government Culture Recovery Fund which offered help and support financially for the culture industry. But many didn’t manage to fall under the regulations needed to get access to the support.
14 shows, 14 venues, just under £200,000 raised.
Almost a year later and with the pandemic raging at its most fierce, Turner has taken to Instagram to announce his return to livestreaming gigs at home in aid of supporting independent music venues.
He wrote, “In the first lockdown, back in March last year, I did a lot for work with @musicvenuetrust and @ivw_uk trying to help out independent venues – 14 shows, 14 venues, just under £200,000 raised. I can’t thank everyone who donated to those fundraisers enough.
“Towards the end of last year, the UK government made a lot of grants to independent music venues, and, credit where it’s due, that has saved a lot of places, for the time being. However, of course, some places fell through the cracks and are still facing a desperate and immediate struggle. The MVT is committed to not letting any venue close, and has set up the #SaveThe30 campaign for the 30 venues most at risk.”
Perfect for those missing the live music scene right now, you can tune in this Saturday, 16th January to help support your favourite independent venues. This Saturday’s will be dedicated to raising funds for The Lantern in Halifax. Starting at 8pm on his YouTube channel, the gig is free of charge and the set will all be requests as the show happens. All he’s asking is that people donate if they can.
If you didn’t get to catch one of Turner’s loud and inspiring sets from March, make sure you don’t make the same mistake twice and tune in on Saturday, 16th January. It’s the closest we’ll all be able to get to seeing musicians up on the big stage right now, and for now, we’ll take it.
Tune into Frank Turner this Saturday, 16th January at 8pm on his YouTube channel, here