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London's Lexington Shares Crowdfunding Appeal For Survival
Patrick Clarke , March 8th, 2021 17:29

The London venue has exclusive merch designed by Fat White Family, The Horrors and more among rewards for the crowdfunder

The Lexington, one of London's finest independent venues, is currently crowdfunding for its survival as it continues to weather the storm of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bar and venue, which has hosted the likes of Tame Impala, Sleaford Mods and more across its storied history, is aiming to raise £180,000 to ensure it can reopen once restrictions ease later this year.

Although the venue was named among the beneficiaries of the Culture Recovery Fund administered by Arts Council England in October, The Lexington's owners only received 40% of the money that they applied for and the venue was subsequently listed by the Music Venue Trust as being among 30 venues still in need of funding.

Reflecting The Lexington's legendary status in the British music scene, artists like The Horrors, Fat White Family, Crows, Billy Childish and James Johnston have all designed unique merchandise for the fundraiser, available as shirts, mugs and tote bags. Time is running out to get your hands on the merch, however, with orders closing at midday on Tuesday, March 9.

Bottles of The Lexington's own in-house bourbon, Whiskey Thief, are also available. You can donate to the crowdfunder here.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs play The Lexington for a tQ fundraiser in 2018

To find out more, tQ caught up with The Lexington's owner Stacey Thomas

The response to The Lexington's fundraising efforts has been quite heartening. You outstripped the goal of your first crowdfund campaign last year – how does it compare to your initial expectations?

Stacey Thomas, The Lexington: The first fundraiser was overwhelming. I think because when we first told people what our outgoings actually are (£25k plus a month after furlough contribution from the government), they were shocked. However, the latest one has been more muted and harder. People are tired of people asking for money. They have none themselves. But it's still been pretty phenomenal. Special thanks to Frank Turner who raised £12.5k in one night for us.

Tell me more about the merch various musicians have designed for the crowdfunder. How did these collaborations come about?

ST: The merch collaborations were suggested to us as a different pathway to take for this crowdfunder. We were aware we'd already done one so this has to be different. The bands are friends of ours at The Lexington. They've all played multiple times, except Rhys [Webb, The Horrors]. I've known him since the Buffalo Bar [The Lexington's dearly departed sister venue] days.

How do you feel yourselves and other independent venues have been treated by the government when it comes to the survival of your business?

ST: Hmmm, tough one. I'd like to say we've been forgotten. But in all honesty they've given record amounts to the Arts Council to distribute and we've been a part of that. Again, thanks to the Music Venue Trust shouting very loudly, we've been considered for funding when in years past we would not have been considered culturally relevant enough for the Arts Council. I do believe the government has hung the entire hospitality industry out to dry though. It's clear they have no understanding of our business.

Do you feel optimistic about the potential return of live music this summer?

ST: I feel apprehensive, nervous. Like I've been offered a sweet that's dangling over a cliff edge that I can almost reach but it could be yanked away at the last moment and I fall. I'm approaching it slowly and cautiously without much expectation.

You can donate to The Lexington's crowdfunder here