A BOURNEMOUTH town centre venue which received a £28,000 Arts Council England grant has pledged to continue supporting grassroots musicians through the pandemic.

Madding Crowd, situated above Pret a Manger in Bournemouth Square, was one of 135 venues across the county to win government funding.

The venue works to book big international acts, with the promise local artists/grassroots performers can support the big names with their own original music.

Co-founder and managing director Peter Gilbert said: “This grant will really help us provide a platform for local grassroots performers to get recognised and give them the opportunity to support, meet and learn from professionals in the industry.

“This also allows us to provide an income to a profession that is being told to re-train.”

Every chart-topping headline act will have support from two to three grassroots artists.

The venue is currently operating, by putting on socially-distanced gigs at 30 per cent capacity. But the loss of revenue means the venue is struggling to break even.

Now the grant will help provide additional security to ensure everyone follows guidelines and more bar staff to provide table service.

An online ordering app has also been developed.

A venue spokesman said: “Madding Crowd have teamed up with Bournemouth Academy of Modern Music and Absolute Music to help provide onsite training to music students.

"We are working with local independent agents and recording studios, such as HP Music and Morningstar Events to book the very latest up and coming artists on the music scene. We have built relationships with Future Agency, Siren Artist Management, Industrial Live Agency and CCA, which is allowing us to line up the following chart toppers to play at Madding Crowd for the rest of 2020.

“Headliners include The Hoosiers, Roy Stride (Scouting for Girls) , Jim (FM), Lucy Spraggan , Gin Annie, Simon Webbe (Blue), Matt Cardle, Matt Pearce, Lauren Bannon and Mauvey to name but a few.”

Visit www.maddingcrowd.club