Legal team advising on initiative to help save music venues

Elbow - Guy Garvey, second from left

Law firm Irwin Mitchell is to advise on a new venture called ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’ which will see major music acts, including Elbow, Everything Everything, Public Service Broadcasting and The Slow Readers Club, perform one-off intimate gigs designed to secure the survival of small grassroots venues across the UK.

The brainchild of Sally Cook, director of operations at Band on the Wall, and Stephen Budd, creator of War Child’s Passport: Back to the Bars and Passport: to BRITs Week series, Passport: Back to Our Roots has partnered with the charity Music Venue Trust to raise funds to safeguard the futures of grassroots music venues struggling to survive the COVID-19 crisis.

The project will launch on August 17, when the public will be invited to make donations to support grassroots music venues.

Supporters of the campaign can choose to be entered into a draw to win passes for themselves and a guest to an intimate gig and will raise much-needed funds for venues affected by the coronavirus lockdown. Further artists and gigs will be announced over the coming months.

Elbow, from Bury, will be returning to Night and Day, three decades after they first performed at the Manchester venue, and dates for all of the events will be confirmed when it is safe to perform the shows at grassroots music venues with no social distancing.

Guy Garvey of Elbow said “This is a simple way of looking after the very roots of British music, and will result in some powerful, joyous shows when we can at last see each other again. I’m very proud to be involved.”

The Media and Entertainment team at Irwin Mitchell has been appointed to provide contractual, commercial and regulatory legal advice to Inner City Music, the charity behind Band on the Wall.

Laura Harper, Irwin Mitchell partner and media & entertainment sector lead, said: “This is an incredibly difficult time for music venues up and down the country so we are pleased to be able to support this initiative and assist Inner City Music to help our important grassroots venues.

“Last month the Government stepped in with a financial package of support for the cultural sector which is positive, but how and where this money will be allocated is currently unclear.

“The reality is that much of the creative sector is being compelled to adopt new initiatives in order to survive and ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’ is a great example of this determination and resilience and provides a way of raising funds and allocating much-needed monies quickly to the venues which are most in need.

“We are encouraging everyone who is able to, to make a donation and get involved.”

Sally Cook said: “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.”

Irwin Mitchell’s national media and entertainment team supports businesses and professionals in the creative industries and digital sector and has been shortlisted as a finalist in the UK law firm of the year category at the prestigious Music Week Awards 2020.

Earlier this year Irwin Mitchell announced that it had donated £5,000 to support AudioActive’s community projects for young people in music.