Scotland, Brighton are home base for latest livestreaming efforts

Grassroots music venues are among the businesses that have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 crisis. Two of the latest initiatives to raise money for them are the Music Venue Trust campaign #saveourscottishvenues as well as United We Stream, which has expanded from Berlin into 65 cities worldwide, the latest of which is Brighton, England.

Scottish artists, including KT Tunstall, The Xcerts, Hunter & the Bear, Wet Wet Wet, Be Charlotte, Fatherson, Luke La Volpe, Hue & Cry, Honeyblood, Keri Watt and Anchor Lane, are performing for a ticketed livestream Friday on as part of the #saveourscottishvenues campaign.

Ticket prices are 5 pounds (about $6.25) to watch the festival live and 8 pounds to watch the festival live and on demand June 20-21.

A live acoustic performance by Fran Healy from Los Angeles will kick things off Thursday with a Facebook Live stream.

Viewers will be able to donate to the Scottish national fundraiser page or to venue’s individual fundraising pages. Venues benefitting from the sales include Sneaky Pete’s, Summerhall and The Bongo Club, all in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh; The Tooth & Claw in Inverness; and The Glad Cafe Glasgow.

Kerri Watt, one of the participating artists, told VenuesNow how she, like many of her fellow Scottish artists, came up through the open mic nights and grassroots venues.

“There was always an incredible feeling of community and support between the venues, promoters and artists,” she said. “Everybody’s in it together and the relationships I made through those gigs gave me the confidence to keep pursuing a career in music. I’ve been grateful for the continued support from those venues over the years, especially since moving back home to Scotland.”

Watt continued, “Every venue has a story to tell and people come from all over the world to feel and be a part of the history in the walls, or in the case of King Tuts, on the stairs! (King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut in Glasgow paints each step on its stairway with a year and favorite acts that performed then.) For many Scottish artists, our grassroots venues are safe and encouraging spaces to experiment, grow and communicate our music and messages. I’m really honoured to have been invited to be part of the festival, we need music now more than ever and it’s really important we, as artists, support the venues that supported us.”

The U.K.’s Music Venue Trust has been fighting to save the more than 500 grassroots music venues it identified as being threatened by the economic impact cause by the countrywide employment bans decreed by the government.

Meanwhile in England, Brighton has joined the list of cities participating in United We Stream, an initiative that started in Berlin during lockdown and has spread across the world.

Participating cities showcase hundreds of hours worth of live DJ sets, live music and live performances for free, asking for donations in order to help with the clubs’ liquidity.

Brighton is well-known for its iconic grassroots music venues, which are the life and soul of Live Nation’s Great Escape talent festival usually taking place in the coastal city in May.

The list includes The Tempest, Big Beach Cafe, Enter Art Gallery (formerly Art Republic) and The Brighton Centre, all of which will be streaming live music and performances every weekend going forward. Launching on Thursday, Brighton-based label Skint will take over the streams with four of its artists playing at various venues along Brighton Seafront.