The independent London newspaper

Special gigs back grassroots venues

100 concerts are lined up for the Fightback ­London Festival

21 June, 2018 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Boadi & The Banku Powers will headline The Islington on July 4

SOMETHING important has been happening in music venues across London.

In amongst the normal gig circuit listings, 100 concerts have been lined up for the Fightback ­London Festival – a sign of unity in support of independent music ­venues across the UK.

Throughout June (and a little bit after), promoters have pulled together an eclectic range of acts to raise awareness of the charity and funds to help threatened venues ­battling for survival.

The campaign aims to help tackle the 35 per cent decline in grassroots venues over the past 10 years. Frank Turner, Madness and Bright Light Bright Light have all given their names to promotional T-shirts in support of the charity.

Organised by Music Venue Trust (MVT), which provides support and advice to venues faced with licensing issues and closure from other external factors, Fightback London is a key component of Sounds Like London, the Mayor of London’s month-long celebration of vital grassroots music venues aimed at encouraging audiences to visit local music ­venues.

Then, on July 4, south London singer-songwriter and producer Boadi & The Banku Powers will headline The Islington with their R&B, jazz and afro-funk fusion, with support from north ­London soul and hip-hop duo Geejay and east ­London’s neo-soul singer Ada, also to raise money for the charity.


Launched in 2016, Fightback is MVT’s fundraising arm, which,this year aims to raise £100,000 from more than 100 events to support grassroots music venues across the UK.

The charity campaigns to keep venues open, improve their reputation, lower their costs and increase their income.

Chi-Chi Onyebalu, who is promoting the gig at The Islington, said: “Talent in the UK is abundant; grassroots music venues are key to developing emerging ­talent. It’s important for them to play in front of audiences that know and appreciate music, for practice, improvement and exposure. This ­campaign is vital to the UK music scene.”

Camden promoter and Fightback Events manager, Gary Prosser, said: “These venues are the backbone of the live music scene in London, providing spaces where artists can take their first steps, develop and grow. Fightback London provides an opportunity to showcase the fantastic range of artists and venues that London enjoys, celebrating the history of our music scene and supporting its future.”

He added: “As an artist who moved into promotions and production I am very aware of the lack of resources and funds now available at the grassroots level. There is more urgency than ever before to nurture and support this area of the music industry. This is why it’s important for organisations like MVT to represent the hundreds of small music venues throughout this country, to give them a voice and make sure their concerns are heard and acted upon.”

To support the charity, your local venues and up-and-coming artists, check out some of the upcoming gigs listed here:

June 21

The Ex + Big Joanie (Electrowerkz); Moine Dubh Label Night (The Social); Artic Lake (Omeara).

June 22

AJJ (Bush Hall); Buddy Curtees & The Grasshoppers (100 Club); Polite Riot Festival (New Cross Inn); Nervus (The Lexington).

June 23

West Weston’s Bluesonics (Ain’t Nothin’ But); Spizz Energi (Dublin Castle); Aurora + Billie Marten + Flyte + Freya Ridings + Sam Fender + Abi Ocia + Adam French + Another Sky + Aquilo + Feet + Grace Carter + Haus + Hollow Coves + Ida Mae + Joel Baker + King No-one + Lily Moore + Maisie Peters + Matt Woods + Night Flight + Stereo Honey + The Beach + Tors + more (Bush Stock, The Courtyard); King Pleasure & The Biscuit Boys 30th anniversary tour (100 Club).

June 24

Jah Wobble (Half Moon Putney); Dino Baptiste (Ain’t Nothin’ But).

June 25

Marco Blues duo (Ain’t Nothin’ But).

June 26

Deaf Kids + Casual Nun (The Shacklewell Arms); Ambience Chasers with Ulrich Schnauss and Sonic Cathedral (The Social).

June 27

Cordovas (Borderline); David Ford (Omeara); The Rebel + The Glugg + Dairy Classics (The Windmill, Brixton).

June 28

Tomaga (Oslo, Hackney); Arno Carstens Live in London (Half Moon Putney); Dead Elvis (The Macbeth).

June 29

Rachel K Collier (Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen); Pussycat + The Dirty Johnsons (Dublin Castle); The Primitives – Lovely 30th Anniversary Concert (100 Club); Mama’s Gun (Omeara).

June 30

Dexter Shaw & the Wolf Tones (Ain’t Nothin’ But).

July 4

Boadi & The Banku Powers + Geejay + Ada (The Islington).


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