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Hackney music venues up fundraising target as coronavirus closure continues

PUBLISHED: 13:02 07 August 2020 | UPDATED: 13:02 07 August 2020

Fat White Family at EartH. Picture: Michael Fung

Fat White Family at EartH. Picture: Michael Fung

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Hackney music venues have partnered up in a revitalised crowdfunding campaign as their closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic stretches on indefinitely.

Superstition at Village Underground in Shoreditch. Picture: Perry GibsonSuperstition at Village Underground in Shoreditch. Picture: Perry Gibson

Village Underground in Shoreditch and EartH in Stoke Newington’s joint campaign has a new target of £30,000 to help cover the significant financial shortfall they have experienced since closure in March and the ongoing operational costs.

The venues’ campaign was initially launched earlier this year, when there was no guaranteed support from the government, and it reached its initial target of £10,000 safely.

Although the government announced a £1.57bn rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage sectors last month, the £500m Culture Recovery Fund to be distributed by Arts Council England (ACE) has not yet become accessible to venues not in immediate danger of closure.

While Village Underground and EartH are preparing its application to ACE when the fund opens to all grassroots venues later this month, their position remains precarious and has prompted a renewed bid for donations.

They are offering various rewards depending on the amount pledged. The smallest is £10, for which donors will receive a ticket for a raffle with prizes including two tickets to an event of choice and a £50 bar tab.

Other rewards include limited edition t-shirts with the renowned ‘Let’s Adore and Endure Each Other’ mural artwork by Steve Powers (£25); a guestlist, drink and venue tour package (£75); and naming a seat in the EartH theatre (£150).

Those with deeper pockets might be tempted by the chance to guarantee a spot on the guestlist for themselves and a companion at any gig or club night for the next five years at a price of £1,000 at each venue or £1,500 for both.

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Amelie Snyers, general manager of the two venues, said: “Whoever picks that reward will probably become the team’s favourite person, especially if they make the most of it and do come to shows all the time – I imagine they will end up feeling at home very quickly.”

The rewards rise all the way up to £25,000, of which half goes to sponsor a street artist to create a new work on the Holywell Lane wall next to Village Underground.

Amelie added: “It was important to incorporate an element of genuine support for artists into the campaign.

“We must not underestimate the value of art – a completely accessible high-quality artwork such as this would be very valuable to society, especially right now.

“The opportunity for a corporate sponsor to benefit from this is huge.”

READ MORE: Shoreditch music venue Village Underground is here to stay

The team at the two venues have also been working on other means to generate income. This week EartH played host to its first ticketed live-streamed gig from The Streets, although with extra health and safety concerns and without taking money at the bar, it will not generate significant profits.

Nevertheless, Snyers believes “it’s important to revive venues with these shows and give artists somewhere to perform and be in touch with audiences”.

Another initiative has been the opening of Village Underground’s cycle park, which has a capacity to securely hold 400 bicycles and is open from 6am to 10pm, with hourly, daily and weekly rates.

READ MORE: Shoreditch music venue to transform into bike park to survive coronavirus lockdown

The team are also planning to open a 100-capacity bar within the cycle park on Friday and Saturday nights, and this project has allowed them to bring some staff back from furlough.

Donate at www.crowdfunder.co.uk/vu-earth-covid-19


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