ABOUT THE PROJECT
The idea for this project was initially inspired by #TheSurvivalTour bike ride which saw five music industry workers cycle from Newcastle to London in October 2020 to raise awareness of the plight of the 600,000+ workers in the UK events industry, and to raise money for the #WeMakeEvents campaign. As part of their tour they visited iconic venues and festival sites, taking a group photo outside each. I loved seeing some of my favourite venues again in their photos and wanted to do a similar project myself in order to raise further awareness and funds for #WeMakeEvents and also for Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues campaign.
In late October 2020 I started creating a map of all the London venues that I had either been to as a music fan or as a photographer. I came up with the idea of combining photographs I had taken at live shows at the venues with images of the now-dormant venues, plus exterior shots to create a juxtaposition between the energy of a live show and the current silent state of the venues. Usually when I photograph live music my focus is on the artist / band, but for this project I went through all the shots I had taken at these venues and selected images that showed the stage and crowd. Where access was possible, I tried to get similar shots of the interiors of the empty venues for a clear “before and after” effect.
For the purpose of this project I have only included venues at which I have photographed live music shows. The majority of the venues were photographed on 31 March 2021 on a day-long circular walk encompassing 22 venues from The Garage to Nambucca. The other venues were photographed in clusters on other occasions, minimising public transport and travelling on foot wherever possible. The interior shots of The O2 Arena were taken during a "backstage tour" event in August 2020.
I was not able to gain access to some of the venues for interior photographs as at the time of undertaking this project many venues were completely locked up with nobody on site. If I am able to gain access at a later date then I will add images to the respective venue pages.
Music Venue Trust is a charity which protects, secures and improves the UK’s grassroots music venues. They launched the #saveourvenues campaign to draw together fundraising activity aimed at preventing the permanent closure of these vital venues due to Covid-19.
Without these independent venues the live music scene in the UK will die. These grassroots venues play a crucial role in the development of British music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.
Donate to the Music Venue Trust #saveourvenues national campaign and they will distribute the money raised to venues that need it most.
#WeMakeEvents is an international movement to highlight that the live events sector urgently needs support from local governments to survive the Covid-19 crisis. Their focus is to get Government initiatives to help the industry back to work while providing support until it can fully return to work.
In April 2020, PLASA and a number of other trade associations met to agree how to help their memberships in the industry so badly affected by the lockdown due to the Covid-19 crisis. This developed into a number of campaigns with PLASA taking the lead for the live events supply chain, which was the start of the #WeMakeEvents campaign. The campaign has since is being adopted internationally, pulling together a world-wide collective across the live entertainment industry of hundreds of businesses and tens of thousands of staff and freelancers all pulling together for their businesses, colleagues and friends who are affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Donate to the #WeMakeEvents campaign here.