Help Save Independent Venues With ‘The Big Plan’

With music venues around the country closing down, four individuals came together with a plan to help the industry out.

After it was announced that two Manchester institutions were to close on Thursday 14 July, a wave of support flooded social media. Most notably Tim Burgess of The Charlatans was quoted calling it “awful.” This story is becoming all too familiar up and down the country with venues from Aberdeen to London facing closure in these difficult times; The Welly and Polar Bear in Hull also announced their closure the same day as the Manchester pair. However, it only took four days for the venues to find hope through charities such as ‘The Big Plan.’

Piran Aston, Katie Macbeth, Niamph Pillinger and Eden Robinshaw met through social media and found they had a common goal. Saving music venues and the artists suffering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking on the charities origins Macbeth said, “The Big Plan started in response to the heart-breaking announcement of the closure of Gorilla and Deaf Institute in Manchester. Both venues hold a special place in my heart and the closure left me in tears.”

With numerous jobs at risk, the industry faces a big problem. ‘The Big Plan’ is a project trying to help out, with the release of a compilation album which features established bands alongside up and comers. It is available to stream via Bandcamp for £5 and each purchase has automatic entry into the raffle ran by the charity. Running a raffle with limited edition vinyl’s/merch has allowed the
charity to gain support in another way.

The album is the main focus, however, and contains 53 tracks from bands such as FEWS, Witness Protection Programme and Test Card Girl. For only £5 the album is a steal and with all proceeds going towards helping the industry, it’s a worthy cause.

In relation to the album Aston said, “Initially we wanted it to be primarily northern bands but then that shuts off the rest of the country. We have bands from all over the place involved in this album from multiple genres, established and up and coming. It is a real eclectic mix.”

With charities like ‘The Big Plan’ the future is in our hands. Artists and venues alike will need help to get them out of the hole COVID-19 has put them in. Not only from us, the people, but from the government too.

Support for charities is paramount in unprecedented times such as these. With no one knowing what is around the corner. It will be tough but certainly not impossible if we are to save our countries precious music industry. Further enquiries can be made at thebigplanmanchester@gmail.com.

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