Russell Watson, KT Tunstall, Pet Shop Boys and Passenger have pledged to play gigs for ‘Passport: Back to Our Roots’, the campaign to raise money for grassroots music venues at risk of closure. Two further artists will be announced on BBC Radio 6 Music during the station’s ‘State Of Independents Day’ on Thursday September 10th.

Classical singer Russell Watson said: “Grassroots venues were crucial in the development of my career. I spent almost nine years in the working men’s clubs in the North West of England before my touring career as a recording artiste. It’s heart-breaking to see so many of these venues – which are the fabric of our communities, where people gather to drink, procrastinate and be entertained – under such huge financial strain. Entertainment is essential to the U.K. It’s fundamentally crucial in driving a large part of our nation’s economy but also in the employment of hundreds of thousands of incredibly talented people – from lighting engineers to prima donnas. This is a time for us all to reflect on just what the entertainment industry means to us and to keep it alive during these most unprecedented times.

I’ve chosen Manchester’s Stoller Hall, a small but beautiful and intimate venue, to perform a free concert in aid of Passport: Back to Our Roots. Please come and join me.”

Fran Healey, General Manager of The Stoller Hall, said: “I can’t wait to welcome Russell Watson back to Manchester, as soon as live music returns to our stage and our lives. Hearing such a special voice in our acoustically perfect, spine-tingly intimate venue will be something to remember for a long time. There is no finer venue in the country to experience choral and classical chamber music than The Stoller Hall, so to have closed our doors this year has been heart-breaking… but to all our classical and choral music lovers, we’re as excited as you are!”

Also performing will be Pet Shop Boys at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, Passenger at Brighton’s Komedia, and KT Tunstall who will be playing at two venues – Windmill Brixton and PJ Molloys in Dunfermline. The artists will be playing these celebratory intimate shows, on dates to be confirmed, when venues are able to open with no social distancing.

Entry to the shows will be via a prize draw which will run until Monday 26 October. For a £5 minimum donation to the campaign, music fans will be entered into the draw to win passes to the show of their choice for themselves and a guest.

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