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Speaking at Venues Day today, Wolf Alice singer Ellie Rowsell said artists "can be one of the greatest helps of all" in the fight to save UK grassroots venues
By Greg Parmley on 17 Oct 2018
Ellie Rowsell, frontwoman of Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice, has called for more musicians to step up in the fight to protect the UK’s grassroots venues. The singer-songwriter spoke at the start of Venues Day 2018, the conference organised by Music Venue Trust.
The sold-out fifth edition of Venues Day takes place today, with over 500 venue professionals in attendance at Islington Academy in London. Following a welcome address by Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement Jones, Rowsell urged more musicians to support the grassroots venues scene.
“I could go down to the [now-closed] Purple Turtle in Camden and borrow every piece of their equipment on their open-mic nights,” she said. “When I see these grassroots venues closing down or under threat, I worry that these authentic starts may no longer be possible.
“The music industry can’t afford to be more depersonalised – when your favourite venue turns into a Costa Coffee, it’s a loss of culture, opportunity, community and individualism.”
“When your favourite venue turns into a Costa Coffee, it’s a loss of culture, opportunity, community and individualism”
MVT says it hopes to see more musicians attending and lending their support to Venues Day 2019.
Rowsell continued: “Musicians can be one of the greatest helps of all. Last summer we toured a lot of the venues we first played in. It’s easy to forget that the venues are there cheering you on as well, and might invite you back to play when you’ve sold no tickets the first time around.”
“It’s important for musicians to recognise these acts of kindness – more should be giving back.”
Venues Day is supported by UK Music, Help Musicians, Jack Daniels, the O2 Arena and Academy Music Group. The programme includes a mix of panel discussions, presentations, working groups and speedmeeting sessions with booking agents and various specialists.
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