London’s independent music venues need all the help they can get right now. Gig spaces have shut to keep in line with government safety guidelines and event schedules have been cancelled for the foreseeable.
But there is something you can do to help. While the bars are off limits, promotions company Green House Group has set up Virtual Pints, a fundraising initiative that’s aiming to raise £5,000 to support small pubs and music venues at financial risk.
So how does it work? You visit the Virtual Pints Crowdfund page, where you can get a virtual beer (or cider if you’re being awkward) for £3.50, cocktail for £5, or be sound and get a round in for £20 (there’s even a £2 cream soda for the teetotals). If you’re in the sound category, donating £20 or more, you could be in with a chance to win festival tickets, band merch, and studio time. Fifty percent is going to the Music Venues Trust, with the other fifty being distributed to small venues that are at risk of closure.
Steve Dix, co-owner of independent Hackney venue Paper Dress Vintage explained that, ‘Keeping the doors of a grassroots music venue open is tough at the best of times, so the COVID-19 crisis has been a hammer blow to the sector and I worry about the future of many of them.’ Dix added that ‘venues like Paper Dress are giving a space for new artists to develop, for scenes to flourish and their existence and the memories forged in them enrich all of our lives....staying at home is going to get boring fast. This country will be a poorer place if any are allowed to fail due to this crisis.’
Alex Thomson, one of the organisers behind Virtual Pints told us, ‘With everybody going online for virtual hangouts lately, I just wanted to make sure that those bricks and mortar places don't get forgotten about though. Let's be honest, we're all looking forward to getting back to the pub when all this is over, so we need to make sure they're still there when it is. Or at the very least, it's just about keeping them in our thoughts over the next few months. Next time you get together with friends online, raise a virtual pint for your local.’
Donating £20 to the Virtual Pints cause won’t make four cold draught ales appear before your eyes, but as you send that cash, and cheers your screen laptop with a beer from your own fridge, a warm, fuzzy feeling is guaranteed.
Find out more about Virtual Pints here.
Follow up your virtual pint with a trip to this virtual pub.
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