All of the great British bands and artists that you can pull from memory; such as David Bowie, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran, Led Zeppelin, Muse, Arctic Monkeys and the hundreds of others that you'll think of in the next two hours have one thing in common. They all began playing in small venues to a handful of people, half of whom were friends or family - full of hope, but raw and unpolished. The one thing that set them apart from others was that people came back to these venues to see them time and time again, bringing more and more people over the weeks and months. These artists then improved and the word spread.
The term 'overnight success story' is fairy dust to these artists and others alike. They were years in the making, honing their craft and paying their dues on the small venue circuit touring up and down the country, playing show after show, up close and personal. Contemporary artists are now at risk of never being able to serve the live venue circuit up and down the UK like those mentioned, due to the rapidly decreasing number of venues.
The reason for this is that a third of those incubators of great British musical culture have gone in the last 8 years and have not been replaced; re-developed into offices or expensive apartments or simply shut down and allowed to rot. Venues like the Marquee, 12Bar Club, Madame Jojos, The Cavern, The Old Vic Tunnels, The Cockpit and The Arches in Glasgow are now lost forever. The recent closure of Fabric, one of the most famous nightclub's in the world has highlighted this issue like never before.
It's not a coincidence that as Record Label revenues have dropped, they have shut down investment and opted for disposable, forgettable, but cheap to produce "puppets" - sorry, I'm meant to say "artists" - sending them off to songwriting camps in Scandinavia or sent a Soundcloud link to the singles they have to record and perform. Rather than sending A&R teams out to the remaining venues, they have focused these teams on YouTube views, Twitter followers and the TV to look for next quarter's sales number and next quarter's trend.
Harvey Goldsmith, the legendary promoter, said in May 2015 when asked to compare today's festivals to the 1970s and 80s, 'We're not producing a new generation of this kind of act. Coldplay is probably the last one to come up and that was 10 years ago. So with no big acts to headline, there are no big shows. Glastonbury has got to the point where it can't find any more big acts and that's the pinnacle of the festivals.'
If you believe, like us, that a huge part of our great British culture, as it's seen around the world, is based on our musical heritage and want to maintain that standing; then you will agree that our future headliners need an environment in which to play, make mistakes, learn and develop and then gain industry attention.
You can do something about it right now. We have been made the youngest ever patrons of Music Venue Trust; a charity with heavyweight industry and political support that is focused on protecting and developing the small grassroots music venues. They are already succeeding, and have just announced #FIGHTBACK, a one off event at Camden's Roundhouse on the 18th October to raise funds for venues up and down the country.
We, The Carnabys, gave away all of our pre-order earnings from this summer's album release to the Trust. 'Too Much, Never Enough' is an album that we are really proud of and we haven't taken this decision lightly. However its even more important to us that we - and the bands coming up behind - actually have somewhere to play in 5 years time.
So if you want to really go and see the next Bowie rather than imagine what might have been, get on board and help us to #savelivemusic.