FREE NOW (Mercury Prize Sponsor) to support London small venue gigs in partnership with Music Venue Trust

The new sponsor of the Mercury Prize FREE NOW is announcing a new partnership with the Music Venue Trust to support/sponsor gigs, including jazz gigs in small London venues. The complete series covers a of 120 gigs in various centres in the UKLondon, Edinburgh and Manchester

Performing at the Crypt in Camberwell on Friday 5 August : Sultan Stevenson. Photo credit: Patricia Pascal

The Venues are:

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  • Jazzlive at the Crypt, Camberwell
  • The Record Shop, Wood Green
  • Trinity Bar, Harrow
  • West Hampstead Arts Club,
  • Paper Dress Vintage, Hackney
  • Green Note, Camden
  • Fox & Firkin, Lewisham
  • The Lexington, Pentonville
  • Bermondsey Social Club
  • The Harrison, Kings Cross

The full list of dates/ artists is in the press release


Music Venue Trust and Mercury Prize Sponsor FREE NOW announce acts for series of gigs at London’s Grassroots Music Venues

Seun Kuti, The Sultan Stevenson Trio, J.IBZ, The Longheads and more to play shows this summer

Public Service Broadcasting to play special “hero” show at Peckham Audio on August 23rd 2022 

London, August 4th 2022 – Following last week’s Mercury Prize shortlist announcement, FREE NOW (the headline sponsor of the Mercury Prize) has partnered with the Music Venue Trust (MVT) to announce a series of gigs by an eclectic range of artists in London’s grassroots venues. Psychedelic, pop-rock band The Froot, internationally renowned harpist Alina Bzhezhinska Trio, Afrobeats artist Seun Kuti and alt-rock Irish soul performer Rossa Murry are among the artists announced for one-off shows. Further gigs will be announced throughout the year.

The dates are part of a series of gigs organised by Music Venue Trust and supported by FREE NOW, in a partnership that will see the Mobility Super App sponsoring the costs of 120 shows by future Mercury Prize hopefuls in 60 grassroots music venues in London, Edinburgh and Manchester. The series, which will take place in 2022 and 2023, underlines the crucial role of grassroots venues within the music industry’s ecosystem in providing platforms for emerging and established artists. 

We’re delighted to feature some of the FREE NOW shows at The Crypt. We are a niche venue promoting jazz music and it’s often difficult to find sponsors and partners in the private sector who recognise the importance of grassroots venues in nurturing our wonderful music scene. Therefore we are excited to take part in this initiative” said Russell Occomore of Jazzlive at the Crypt where The Sultan Stevenson Trio will be performing.

London dates announced:

05/08/22 – The Sultan Stevenson Trio – Jazzlive at the Crypt, SE5 8JB

05/08/22 – J.Ibz – The RecordShop, N22 6YQ

06/08/22 – Faers + Debts + Joe Kellino’s Miracle Medicine Show + Indigo apartment – Trinity Bar, HA1 2DE

11/08/22 – John Doherty (Little Hours) – West Hampstead Arts Club, NW6 1NR

12/08/22 – Big Dummy + BLOKE + Sierpinski –  Paper Dress Vintage, E8 1HR

13/08/22 – Jose McGill & The Vagaband – Green Note, NW1 7AN

19/08/22 – Seun Kuti – Fox & Firkin, SE13 6JZ

20/08/22 – Ye Nuns – The Lexington, N1 9JB

25/08/22 – Longheads + Butch Kassidy – Bermondsey Social Club, SE16 3LR

01/09/22 – Rossa Murry – The Harrison, WC1H 8JF

See venues for ticket details.

As part of the initiative Public Service Broadcasting also recently announced a show at Peckham Audio on August 23rd, the first of 3 “hero” shows that will see big artists return to small grassroots music venues. 

Speaking about the show, Public Service Broadcasting’s J. Wilgoose Esq said “I honestly don’t think Public Service Broadcasting would be a going concern without grassroots venues. Years before our first EP came out I was gigging around London and further afield as a solo act, learning what worked and – more often – what didn’t. If we’re going to continue to have such an extraordinarily successful musical and cultural scene here in the UK (not to mention profitable to the Exchequer), we have to ensure that these venues not only survive but thrive, giving the next generation of musicians and artists the platforms they need to hone their acts and learn their trade.”

To launch this new series of live music events, FREE NOW is also giving 50% off the first two rides (up to £8) when gig goers download the FREE NOW app.

Steve Dix of Paper Dress Bookings said: “We’re delighted to be part of FREE NOW’s sponsorship of gigs in grassroots music venues up and down the country. On 12 August, we’re throwing a party with a trio of talented emerging local bands and the support means we can make sure everyone gets paid properly and adds some extra marketing clout to help get the show nice and busy. Getting our customers home safe at the end of the night with some extra money in their pocket is an added bonus!”

FREE NOW are the latest organisation to fund events in Grassroots Music Venues across the UK, highlighting their importance to culture across the country, boosting the recovery of local businesses after COVID related closures, and providing the opportunities for artists to return to touring.

FREE NOW is the Mobility Super App operating in nine cities across the UK including Brighton, Edinburgh, London and Manchester. With only one app, users can flexibly book a full range of mobility services from Black Cabs to PHV to multi-mobility options. eScooters and eBikes are available through app integrations with main operators active in the market including Dott, and TIER.

“It’s great to see companies like FREE NOW supporting grassroots venues with funding,” said Lenny Watson of Fox & Firkin. “We need way more big companies to get involved with grassroots culture in this way and help grow the music industry from the bottom up.”

It’s great to be associated with these FREE NOW shows, the extra boost it gives the venue is fantastic. All music fans, artists and venues owe the Music Venue Trust a big thank you in keeping venues alive during Covid and it’s great that partnerships like this one with FREE NOW are continuing to help us emerge from the pandemic and do what we do best, putting artists in front of audiences” said Chris Purdue of Trinity Bar in Harrow.

The Record Shop’s Mary Otumahana said: “Our resident artist J.Ibz will be launching his debut EP at our next showcase and it’s amazing to be partnering with FREE NOW to support and provide more exposure for young musicians.”


Categories: News

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