Near half of London’s grassroots venues have closed in the past ten years, and it represents a pattern across the UK. Higher costs, tougher policies and gentrification have led to venues closing having lost their license.

BAND ON! is a campaign to encourage small, independent venues to protect their license. In a bid to deter the use of fake ID and stop underage drinking at gigs that are open to under 18s, BAND ON! has created a wristband routine. It sees that when a ticket is checked on the door, so is ID.

If a gig-goer is under 18 or doesn’t have valid ID, they receive a branded neon pink wristband. If a gig-goer has valid ID to prove that they’re over 18, they receive a branded neon green wristband.

With this, neon green straws are given to alcoholic mixer drinks, and neon pink to soft. The idea came to founder, Tanyel Gumushan, when she was working the bar in a busy venue at university and worried about checking ID in the dark and under pressure from large queues. Worrying also that drinks were passing hands.

“BAND ON! is all about protecting independent venues and the gig-goers.” She says, “They do so much for the community; introducing us to fresh talent, providing a platform for local acts, always creating memories. They’re a hub for creativity, and I don’t want to live in a world without them!”

BAND ON! also has a blog where young people can submit content (journalism, photography, videography, artwork) that supports local music, here they can build a portfolio. There are also guest blogs from musicians and those who work in industry, giving advice and tips. The idea is to encourage creative collaboration.

BAND ON! launched last night at a sold out Declan McKenna show at The Cookie in Leicester, who have given their support to the campaign. It was part of their Independent Venue Week celebrations.

“The feedback I received was amazing, especially from the young people who were shocked that other venues don’t allow under 18s. It was wicked to see all of the wristbands and Declan was really supportive, posing in his wristband!” says Tanyel.

In order to carry on funding the campaign, BAND ON! will be crowdfunding and is hoping to attract the attention of the council.

 

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Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester’s creative community for over a decade – promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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