Elles Bailey, Sari Schorr and Mike Ross are part of a host of stars who will gather at The Harlington, Fleet, on 10 April 2022 for the unique Gig 4 Ukraine event. The Russian invasion of Ukraine, which started one month ago, was today described by UK prime minister Boris Johnson as “incredible barbaric slaughter.”
Alan Bates runs the Underground Music Club, which organises gigs “in gardens, libraries, longboats and barns” and is in the team managing the event. “We were sitting there just saying how mad this world was,” Alan told MetalTalk, “and wondering what we could do, and the only thing we know how to do is this. So we decided the thing to do was to try and get some of our friends involved and make a few quid.”
The Harlington in Fleet was secured, with the council waiving any fees and quickly, musicians, including Sari Schorr, offered their time for free.
“My roots run deep in Ukraine,” Sari told MetalTalk. “My family comes from Kyiv. I’m horrified at the brutal attack on Ukraine and the human toll it is costing. Yet, inspiring sights of ordinary people doing extraordinary things keep me hopeful. All I can do is lend my voice to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people in total support of their freedom and democracy.”
Such is the horror that people are witnessing that the event began to snowball. “We just started putting the word out to a few of our friends in the game,” Alan says, “and it just took off. We’ve been turning artists down simply because you can’t have too much stage time. It’s not a festival. It’s a gig.”
The need to do something, however small, and support our Ukraine friends is something the world feels. “Gig 4 Ukraine will help amplify our voices,” Sari says, “and raise desperately needed funds for Disaster Emergency Committee for Ukraine.”
This is a feeling echoed by Elles Bailey. “I feel very honoured to have been asked to take part in this show raising money for the people of Ukraine,” Elles told MetalTalk. “I have watched the news, heartbroken at the unfolding humanitarian crisis and have wanted to help in whichever way I can.
“Everyone is giving up their time for this show which means 100% of the proceeds are going to the DEC and the people who need it most. I really hope you can join us and raise as much as we can for this worthy cause.”
Mike Ross shared his feelings and frustrations, ones that are in many people’s minds. “I’ve felt so helpless watching the tragedy of Russia’s cruel and illegal invasion of Ukraine enfold,” Mike told MetalTalk, “so it feels great to be able to use my voice to help the oppressed and brutalised Ukrainians in their time of greatest need.”
Today it was announced that Emily Francis would join the performer list, which also includes Jo Harman, Martin Harley, Dom Martin, Martin Johnson, Mike Mayfield, Lady Nade, Hollie Rogers, Eddy Smith, Jade Like The Stone and Jana Varga, backed by the house band, The Redtenbacher’s Funkestra.
The running order for the day is a tightly kept secret, but Alan’s plans will lead to one special event. “We’re trying hard not to have a bill here,” Alan says. “No top or bottom of the bill. There is a level of stress for any event you put on, but for the musicians, there’s no commercial stress on these guys. They are not promoting an album and worrying about bums on seats. They are there for the cause.”
Alan has hinted at some incredible surprises. “The feedback from the artists is fantastic,” he says. “They are so up for it, and I think we are going to do the show with quite a few collaborations that you will probably never see again. It will make it fun for the audience and the artists. You will not often see Elles, Jo and Sari singing together. That is going to be quite something.”
Tickets are £25, with less than 30% remaining. With musicians, venue, staff lighting and backline all donating their time for free, Alan is looking for local community groups for support and supermarkets or food companies to help feed the artists. “This is about raising as much money as we can for this charity,” Alan says.
The Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal will receive all proceeds. “The council were very adamant,” Alan says, “that if we were going to use their venue for free and have their name attached to it, we should be using one of the mainline charities. This is a direct line to the Ukraine humanitarian appeal and is about funding the things needed for these people, sanitation, medical care, food, shelter and water.”
The price has been kept affordable, and given the lineup and the cause, this is a must-see event.
For more information about the The Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, or to make a donation, visit dec.org.uk
Tickets, at £25, are available from theharlington.ticketsolve.com/shows/873632767
To offer support for the event, please contact Alan Bates at email@example.com