London venue The Windmill is ready to welcome artists and fans once lockdown lifts

London venue The Windmill is ready to welcome artists and fans once lockdown lifts

Tim Perry, booker at The Windmill in South London, has told Music Week that he’s ready to work “around the clock” to arrange new shows once lockdown restrictions lift. 

The Windmill has developed a reputation as a breeding ground for a wave of new talent including Black Midi, Shame, Sorry, Honey Hahs and more, and hosted Independent Venue Week ambassador Anna Calvi earlier this year.

We recently spoke to Perry, alongside a range of representatives of the grassroots circuit including Music Venue Trust boss Mark Davyd, Boileroom director Dominique Frazer and more, about the impact of coronavirus. And with the pandemic continuing to spread and lockdown in place for three more weeks at least, he struck an upbeat tone about his venue’s recent achievements and what’s to come.

Domino-signed London band Sorry also voiced their support for The Windmill, where they were due to play a launch show for their debut album 925 earlier this month.

“The Windmill holds a big place in our hearts, it’s where we started playing a lot and met some amazing, lovely friends,” said singer Asha Lorenz. “It has been the hub of amazing memories, music and times. It's very sad to think how much venues will struggle from this and we hope everyone will do a lot to help them out, because they are very important to keeping culture alive and growing in London.”

Guitarist Louis O’Bryen told us the Brixton venue is a “very important place”.

“It’s one of the few venues in London that is in it for the right reasons, for music and not for money,” he said. “It holds a special place in our hearts, Tim the promoter is integral to the music scene in London. We hope it survives and all venues in general are OK, they are very important to the culture of London and keep it from turning into one big block of new build flats.”

Subscribers can read the full story here, below is an extract from our conversation with Tim Perry.

How was business when the virus hit?

“We were on a roll this year. It had felt as if the jigsaw had all come together. We had an amazing Independent Venue Week in January, Rough Trade Books brought out a story on the venue, we were due to have a stage at Wide Awake Festival  and we were asked to do a showcase at SXSW with Black Country, New Road, Sorry, HMLTD, PVA and Drinking Boys and Girls Choir all down to play, and that a huge deal for a venue of our size.  But of course that got cancelled.” 

People have really missed seeing the bands

Have you had to take any special measures to stay in business?

“One of the first bands that had to cancel a show because of self-isolation, were For Breakfast and they kindly set up a fundraiser page for the venue. It’s sitting at around £4,000, which is great as we haven't pushed it as a venue as we're waiting to tie down the government grants and wages schemes before really seeing what kind of hole we are in. So many venues and bands are out of pocket and we don't want to be pushy until maybe (and hopefully this will be over sooner than later) we have to. We’re not really bothering trying to guess when it will be OK to start rescheduling or booking shows in again. We’re just keeping in touch with artists who play here regularly and when the ban is lifted we’ll be ready and working round the clock to get shows booked.”

What’s your message to artists? 

“Our first response was to help those artists who were financially stung by the cancellation of SXSW so we had fundraisers for Hotel Lux, Meatraffle and PVA. Since then, we’ve been keeping in touch with artists who play here regularly, sharing their livestreams and offering whatever moral support we can. Our message to bands is that we’re looking forward to all the new songs that you’ll be writing during this period and to be ready for when this is all over as people have really missed seeing you. Also there’s a good network of support out there from bodies like the Musicians Union, Help Musicians and more – please use it.”

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