Inside The ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign – Time to Bang the Drum!

With lockdown measures easing in the UK, there is still a great deal of uncertainty of what the future holds for many sectors. One sector struggling to currently see any light at the end of the tunnel is the entertainment sector. Over 550 of the UK’s grassroots music venues are trying to find ways to prevent permanent closure due to the coronavirus crisis.

However, there is help at hand. The Music Venue Trust, a British charitable organisation founded in January 2014 to help improve, maintain, and organise music venues in the United Kingdom, recently launched, ‘Save Our Venues’ campaign. A campaign with a crowdfunding bid to prevent 556 independent UK venues from closure. Over £1million has already been raised. London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already pledged £450,000 to the Trust to help preserve venues in the capital.

Local venues around the country are also doing their bit to try and raise money, including popular music venue, Unit Nine, based in Milton Keynes. Unit Nine is part of this national initiative backed by the Music Venue Trust. They have recently set up a crowdfunding page – www.crowdfunder.co.uk/SaveUnitNine Donations will be used to help pay for costs associated with running a venue, even when the doors are closed. If they hit their target, and prevent the closure of their venue, everything above the amount they need will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues just like Unit Nine across the UK.

Staff at Unit Nine have also been creating innovative ways to engage with the community during lockdown by creating online platforms to engage the community and to promote emerging and developing talent. One of the venue’s new lockdown initiatives was to also establish a record label (Unit Nine Records), on which they are about to release their first single. The release is being used to raise awareness and money for what is happening to live music venues across the UK.

Co-owners Dom Rampello and Jamie Stimpson, of Unit Nine, hand-picked singers to be involved in the remake of Bridge Over Troubled Water. The singers range from professional, amateur and students and range in age from 15 to 43, with one thing in common; they originate from Milton Keynes and they have been involved with Unit Nine projects or events in the past.

Due to lockdown measures in place, Unit Nine could not use it’s own studio facilities to record the song, so each singer recorded their part of the song at a quiet spot at their home or in their car! Mainly using video on mobile phones.

Callum Ryan from Kick Media also offered his services free of charge to help Unit Nine put together a music video to go along with the release in just two days. With a complete mix of ages on the track, the song & video offers a sense of togetherness and understanding and a real raw visual edge during these testing times.

Bridge Over Troubled Water will be available on Friday 22nd May on all major online streaming platforms. The video is available as of Thursday 21st May.

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