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Grand reopening: Frank Turner to headline the show at full capacity for MVT


It was an unforgettable evening for the Clapham Grand Concert Hall (cap. 1250) on Monday July 19, as it became one of the first in the country to host a full capacity crowd for its Grand Aid 3 concert, in association with National Lottery Music Venue Trust (MVT) and Revive Live Tour.

The Freedom Day UK concert featured a set by folk-punk singer-songwriter Frank Turner and his band The Sleeping Souls, as well as supporting groups Beans on Toast, Gerry Del-Guercio and Ciara Haidar .

Turner was greeted on stage by BBC Radio 6 DJ Steve Lamacq, who lent his support to local venues, MVT promoters and CEO and crowd surfer that night Mark Davyd.

Lamacq said: ‘Over the past 15 months the MVT, its partners across the county and people across the UK have tried to keep the doors open, to keep the wolf away from the door and to s’ ensure we can still see live music when all is done.

“They worked 16 to 18 hours a day, six or seven days a week, trying to put pressure on the government behind the scenes and asking companies and trusts to raise awareness of the importance of live rock music and d ‘get the money to keep these places alive.

After enthusiastic applause from his devotees, many of whom wore his merchandise t-shirts, Turner said, “My last show at full capacity was 491 days ago in Southend and I’ve been waiting ever since.

“There have been some socially distanced shows and everything is fine and everyone has tried really hard, but this is the real shit, ladies and gentlemen. I did a few live shows during the lockdown, but I missed you.

“On paper, virtual shows should be better – you can hit pause, get your own beer, and you might even sound better. But it is not even by far the same thing.

“You know why?” he continued, “because there is no sense of community. It’s not just about sweating with your friends, it’s about sweating with people you don’t know and making new friends.

Turner, who has performed both his new material and his cult classics, criticized officials nationwide, who he said “seem to blame everything that is wrong on live music culture and youth culture.”

After bringing Clapham Grand manager, producer and programmer to the stage, Ally Wolf, an emotional Turner, who said he cried twice before the show, expressed his joy at being able to perform his first real concert in his beloved Grand – a place where he performed the first government-approved live pilot concert last year. He told the crowd that the renovated 121-year-old Victorian venue had played host to Charlie Chaplin and had “been through a pandemic before.”

After the event, Turner tweeted, “I’m still figuring out exactly what to think and feel about last night’s show. But I can say this – it was totally magical, and pure, at the time; and fleeting moments are what live music [is] about.”

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