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First gigs announced for Brits Week 2023

Brits Week for War Child is set to return in 2023, giving fans the opportunity to see leading UK artists in intimate music venues across the country.

Produced by AEG Presents, BPI and War Child, the series will take place around next year’s Brit Awards (11 February 2023) to raise money for children whose lives have been torn apart by war.

Kicking things off on 29 January at Lafayette will be UK rock outfit The Hunna. On 1 February, Metronomy will be playing songs from their renowned catalogue at new London venue HERE at Outernet, followed by the chart-topping Years & Years on 2 February.

Following her acclaimed debut album this year, Beabadoobee will be playing at Lafayette on 3 February, the same night that 2022 Mercury Prize shortlisted Kojey Radical will take to the stage at east London’s XOYO.

Cambridge’s critically acclaimed bedroom pop artist Cavetown will play at Omeara on 4 February, with Scottish four-piece The Snuts then taking BRITs Week to Glasgow, performing at Stereo on 5 February.

“We’re going even further afield across the UK to bring very special underplay shows to people”

Indie-pop’s Easy Life will be heading down to Bristol for a show at Trinity Centre on 7 February, while back in London Sea Girls will bring their renowned live energy to the iconic 100 Club.

Chart-topping singer-songwriter Frank Turner + The Sleeping Souls will play at London’s O2 Shepherds Bush Empire on 9 February. Rounding things off on 10 February, 2021 BRIT Rising Star nominee Rina Sawayama will turn her electrifying live performance into an intimate acoustic show at London’s Lafayette and genre-blending duo Bob Vylan will be playing tracks from their new Kerrang! Award & MOBO winning album at Omeara. More acts on the 2023 line-up will be announced in January.

Simon Jones, senior vice president, live music international, at AEG says “Bringing back BRITs Week each year is always exciting, and for 2023, we’re going even further afield across the UK to bring very special underplay shows to people. Our AEG team and partners at BPI, War Child and Mastercard have all clubbed together to help create another incredible series, for what is a fantastic industry fixture year in year out, raising much-needed funds for a very important charity, War Child. The line-up keeps growing, and there’s even more to come, so keep your eyes peeled.”

Maggie Crowe OBE, BPI’s director of events & charities says: “Announcing this brilliant lineup with more names joining the class of BRITs Week 2023 early in the New Year is just joyous. Music is therapy for the soul and listening to amazing artists of all styles and backgrounds in intimate venues is exactly how this special annual event works to raise much-needed funds for War Child – in what will be their 30th anniversary year. Our thanks to all the artists and their teams and to our valued friends and partners for making BRITs Week possible.”

Fans can enter the prize draw and win tickets to see the artist of their choice. A £5 donation buys one entry, a £10 donation buys three, and a £15 donation buys five. Fans can enter as many times as they like, to maximise the chance of winning. There will also be a limited number of tickets for each show on sale.


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AEG’s Simon Jones on the return of BRITs Week

AEG Presents promoter Simon Jones has given IQ the inside track on this year’s BRITs Week as it returns for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

The annual charity concert series gives fans the opportunity to see leading UK artists perform at intimate venue across London in the run-up to next Tuesday’s (8 February) BRIT Awards at The O2.

BRITs Week 2022 kicked off earlier this week with Anne-Marie at Lafayette, and has gone on to showcase Joy Crookes and Maisie Peters, both at Omeara, Bastille at EartH and Becky Hill at Lafayette.

It continues tonight with Fontaines DC at the 500-cap The Dome before concluding with Mimi Webb at Omeara (5 February), Craig David presents TS5 at Under The Bridge (17 February) and Damon Albarn at Troxy (20 February). A percentage of tickets go into a £5 prize draw, with the remainder going on general sale.

The event has raised millions of pounds for War Child since its inception in 2014, thanks to underplay shows by artists such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Take That, Florence & The Machine, Biffy Clyro , Foals, Royal Blood, Wolf Alice and The 1975, raising millions of pounds for War Child.

“We’re all very thankful that so many people want to play the series, and some indeed come back for multiple shows over the years,” says Jones, AEG’s SVP of music, international. “Everyone who takes part does so very enthusiastically because of the amazing work that War Child continue to do, for children in conflict across the world.”

“It’s just genuinely great to be back doing these red hot shows with amazing artists in small venues”

Here, in a special Q&A, Jones talks us through the evolution of the series…

How did BRITs Week come about?

“BRITs Week started out as a couple of shows at Brooklyn Bowl at The O2 in 2014. As The O2 was the host venue of the main ceremony, Maggie Crowe at the BPI, Milly Olykan, formerly of AEG, and myself concocted the idea to expand the footprint and outreach of the BRITs in the days surrounding the shows, by doing shows in small venues for very established artists. By year two in 2015 we had come up with a great collaboration with all of the major labels, and a collective of the independent labels, whereby they committed to collaboratively book a minimum of one show each year of their established artists in focus that year, with a supporting bill of their up and coming talent.

“At the same time of year, [artist/producer manager] Stephen Budd had a brilliant series of live shows called Passport Back to The Bars, which was a very similar concept, and was raising money for War Child. We all had the same ideas and so we aligned with each other and put everything under one umbrella, and it has gone on from strength to strength ever since.”

How did this year’s line-up come together? 

“It can be very last minute that’s for sure! We had some very early confirmations for this years run, but the bulk of artists confirmed in the last few weeks prior to announcement, which keeps everyone on their toes. Will Smyth, Richard Clarke and Ben Anderson have all done a brilliant job on getting the bill together. Obviously, artists are very graciously giving up their time to play a show, in their packed schedules and normally high touring period, but the prospect of raising a bucket load of cash for War Child in the process is generally the driver for the artists.”

What have been some of your highlights from previous BRITs Weeks?

“Coldplay and Ed Sheeran who both played at Indigo at The O2 in different years were incredible shows. Foals at Shepherds Bush Empire, Idles at 100 Club, The 1975 at The Garage! Laura Marling at St Giles in the Fields was unreal… so many.”

What does it mean to you to see it return given the events of the last two years?

“Last year was a real downer, obviously, not being able to do the series, for obvious reasons, despite coming very close to doing a big streamed event – mainly because the amount of money that is raised for War Child each year is so substantial, and it makes a huge difference to them if it doesn’t happen. But for this year, it’s just genuinely great to be back doing these red hot shows with amazing artists in small venues. BRITs Week has become a real industry fixture each year and we’re all so pleased to have it back.”

Is there anything else you would like to add?

“A big shout out to everyone that has tirelessly worked on the series of shows since 2014 to help deliver amazing shows, to get BRITs Week to where it is, and raising a colossal amount of money for War Child. Maggie Crowe at BPI is a force of nature, an incredible human being, and the strings she pulls knows no bounds, it’s incredible. Milly Olykan of The O2 really was the driving force with Maggie to help start this, Geoff Taylor at BPI has always been extremely supportive and helpful in everything we do. Adrian, Giuseppe, Hannah and everyone at BPI. Each BRITs chairman, and each label head that has helped keep the the series alive. Jim Benner, Sam Briggs, Ben Knowles, Richard Clarke, Sascha Richter, Jamie Johnson, Emily Simms, Sophie McKay, Ben Anderson all of War Child past and present, Will Smyth, Will Dowdy, Ali Castriotis, Anna De Silva, Joseph Wallace, Jess Vincent, Nicole Allen, Katie Cavanah and Natalie Curtin all of AEG Presents. Everyone at DawBell including Charlie, Rachael and Kate who have done an incredible job over the years. Charlie Carrington, Andy Wise, and Agnes at Mastercard and Justin at BIG. And Paul Shulver, Sam Slee, Ella and Nuela the events previous sponsor O2 who were all big early believers and supporters in the project.”


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Major UK artists to play grassroots music venues

Major UK artists will “return to their roots” as part of a crowdfunding campaign to help grassroots music venues, which have been struggling to stay open during the Covid-19 crisis.

The crowdfunding campaign, Passport: Back To Our Roots, will open on 17 August when fans can donate a minimum of £5 to help support their favourite venues.

Everyone who donates will be entered into a prize draw to win entry for a show for themselves and a friend.

Among the concerts announced so far are Elbow performing at Night & Day Cafe in Manchester, Everything Everything at Bedford Esquires, Public Service Broadcasting at Amersham Arms in London, and The Slow Readers Club at The Trades Club in Hebden Bridge.

Organisers say the series of one-off intimate gigs will take place when live shows can safely return without social distancing measures, most likely between March and September next year.

The initiative was launched by registered charity and independent grassroots venue Band on the Wall, the Music Venue Trust and Stephen Budd Music (creator of War Child’s Passport: Back to the Bars & Passport: To BRITs Week series).

Sally Cook, co-founder of Passport: Back to Our Roots and director of operations at Band on the Wall says: “This project has been a long time in the making and it’s incredibly exciting to see artists supporting the grassroots venues that form the foundation of the UK’s live music industry, acknowledging their importance and celebrating the unrivalled experience of watching your favourite bands up close and personal, surrounded by friends and united in appreciation for live music in all its loud and sweaty glory.”

“These shows will be awe-inspiring for fans and also a joy for the artists who are helping keep live grassroots venues alive”

Stephen Budd, founder and CEO of Stephen Budd Entertainment says: “I’m delighted to help put this amazing series of shows together. I’m doing this on a not-for-profit basis as I did for the successful War Child shows I helped put together, using the same mechanism we created which has proved so workable and simple for artists and it won’t impact negatively on their own show plans.

“There is nothing like seeing your favourite artist in a venue that is closest to the artist’s hearts. These shows will be awe-inspiring for those fans who are lucky enough to win the prize draw and also a joy for the artists who participate knowing they are helping keep live grassroots venues alive.”

Of all money raised, 80% will go to the Music Venue Trust (MVT), who in turn will distribute half of the amount to the host venue and the other half to their Crisis Fund, which will benefit all UK venues in need of financial support.

The remaining 20% will go to Inner City Music, the charitable organisation that operates Band on the Wall in Manchester, which is responsible for the administration of the project and will cover its overheads.

Aside from its involvement with Passport: Back To Our Roots campaign, MVT also recently partnered with Fightback Brewing Company in support of the #saveourvenues initiative. 

Fightback Lager, which is stocked in over 60 grassroots music venue bars across the UK, now makes a 5p donation to MVT from every pint sold.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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