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Grooves: Small venues appeal; streamed gigs; online festivals

03 July, 2020 — By Róisín Gadelrab

Lianne La Havas plays a one-off solo show at The Roundhouse on July 15

IT would have been around this time that we would have been spending the best parts of our week at Hyde Park BST – with part of our team no doubt filing copy from Glastonbury. So last weekend, we had to settle for watching the extensive retrospective coverage of Glastonburys past. While it’s one thing to feel nostalgic for the days when we were free to roam festivals and cram next to random strangers in packed crowds with little fear of contracting a killer virus, we should remember that, if it wasn’t for the many small music venues across the country who provided space for musicians to jam, hone their skills, fail, pick themselves back up again, collect loyal fans along the way and become known, many of those favoured festival acts would never have had the chance to become what they are now. So, this is your fortnightly reminder that if you love them, don’t forget them – there are ways to show your support online. Some of those that can operate as pubs – such as The Camden Assembly and The Old Queen’s Head – will be reopening soon but don’t expect any live indoor music for a while.

One venue that is almost made for the post-corona era is Spiritland, which opens again on July 4 with hours limited. As it is focused on the wonders of recorded music, played through its incredible speakers, has its own in-house studio and is already set up for table service, this will be one place where the appreciation of music, albeit not live, can be fully appreciated once more.

• In the meantime, streamed gigs continue, with more artists ticketing their online shows – and so they should. Lianne La Havas plays a one-off solo show at The Roundhouse on July 15, where she will preview track from her forthcoming self-titled album as well as previously released material and The Green Note has a whole programme of upcoming streamed gigs, see

Some festivals are carrying on remotely – sans mud and camping. Lost Horizon – from the team behind Glastonbury’s Shangri-La – have lined up Carl Cox, Fatboy Slim, Peggy Gou, Frank Turner, Alabama 3 and more this weekend (July 3-4) to host what they claim to be the world’s largest music and arts festival in virtual reality with four stages, more than 50 music acts, 150 artists, 50 films and 250 artworks to raise money for The Big Issue and Amnesty International. Tickets free, suggested donation – visit for info. While Finsbury Park is enjoying a rest, Wireless Connect (July 3-5) will be streaming exclusive performances from Skepta, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and many others. Available in immersive virtual reality on smartphones and VR headsets via the MelodyVR app, as well as on Facebook and YouTube, the event is totally free with donations encouraged to Black Lives Matter. One other festival that is carrying on online is the 80s Lockdown Fest 2, where the likes of Sister Sledge, OMD, Marc Almond, Wet Wet Wet, The Boomtown Rats, T’Pau, Toyah and Jenn Matthias and many more will be streaming Friday from 7pm on the Let’s Rock TV – The 80s Lockdown Fest YouTube channel with donations to charity Child Bereavement UK encouraged.


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