Darwen music venue needs a ‘little help from its friends’

Published Friday 21 October 2022 at 15:30

Sunbird Records is calling on the community to rally behind it as it bids to be part of a new £3.5m grassroots music venue initiative.

Sunbirds has been chosen as one of only nine venues from across the UK to be part of the Music Venues Trust’s ‘Own Our Venues’ pilot, supported by Ed Sheeran.

The campaign hopes to radically change the nature of ownership of venues like Sunbirds to help reduce costs and ensure they can be sustainable – supporting artists and ensuring live music is accessible to all.

However, like many businesses, Sunbirds is feeling the pinch with rising costs and it needs support to survive while the project fully rolls out.

General Manager, Ramsay Lohan, said:

The Sunbird Records Live Music Venue was launched by Dr Jonathan Lindley in 2016.

He wanted to create a space where new talent could be showcased and he brought together a ‘neo-tribe’ of like-minded musicians and music lovers and converted the former HSBC bank in the town centre.

The ambition then is still the same today – to provide a performance space, recording studio and record label all under one room in a safe and friendly environment for all creatives.

Sadly, Dr Lindley, described as ‘a legend on the Darwen music scene’ died earlier this year aged 32.


Ramsay added:

We’re absolutely determined to keep Jonny’s vision for Sunbirds alive and it’s fantastic that we’ve been chosen to be part of the MVT ‘Own Our Venues’ pilot.

This would transform the future of Sunbirds and help us really drive forward as a venue that can benefit the whole community.

But, we need support to get there as these are incredibly tough times and we desperately need to get to the point of the building being bought.

On Thursday (October, 27th), Sunbird is set to reveal its packed programme of winter events and gigs at a free event starting at 8:30pm.

Organisers are encouraging people to go along and take a look at what’s planned.

They’re also asking people to join their mailing list or help spread the word by following Sunbirds on socials and sharing their content.

Ramsay said:

We make sure that all of our events are affordable – I don’t think we’ve ever charged more than a tenner for even our biggest gigs.

We also have a bar which we are expanding and specialist coffees – if people could call in for a drink, it all helps.

The Own Our Venues scheme will truly be an incredible lifeline for us, we’d appreciate any support that people can give us as we work towards that.

Blackburn with Darwen Council has supported Sunbirds with a small grant to help bring the building up to standard to meet the requirements of the pilot scheme.

Martin Kelly, Director of Growth and Development at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said:

We know just how important venues like Sunbirds are for supporting music artists and offering people the chance to listen to live music in an affordable way.

They’re also key to bringing visitors into our towns – helping support our local economy.

We know that these are tough times for us all, but we can all play a small part in helping small businesses like Sunbirds, by spending locally where possible and helping spread the word about what we have here in our borough.

Sunbirds has the potential to be a fantastic community facility and we will work with them and offer any support we can.

You can find out more about Sunbird Records at: www.sunbirdrecords.com – including a full line-up of events.

You can also follow them on social:




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