The last decade has been particularly tough for live music in venues in London. From 2007 to 2016, the number of grassroots spaces fell by a third from 144 to 94, from the Astoria in Soho to the Elephant and Castle Coronet.
However, within the last year there has been a change; according to City Hall, the number has risen by 6% to 100 venues. New spaces include Fold in Canning Town, St John’s Music Hall in Leytonstone, and Earth in Dalston.
So what counts as a grassroots club? It’s defined as a business run by experts with a sole focus on music – very much like the Fighting Cocks in Kingston. These clubs face increasing pressure from development, rising rents and business rates.
Grassroots venues are so important, both for up-and-coming artists and music fans. They offer a space for musicians to cut their teeth and experiment, before moving to bigger stages. They are a place for fans to discover new music on their doorstep. The UK music industry is renowned across the globe and this is where it all begins.
In response, CirKT has developed an ecosystem style approach – nurturing new talent, offering paid gigs, making industry connects and working with Kingston venues to put on more live music.
Head over to our CirKT Music YouTube channel to see our artists performing live across Kingston, New Malden and Surbiton.
We asked our CirKT New Talent for their advice on what they’ve learnt along the way.
Listen to our playlist featuring Kingston’s finest new talent.