Oval Tavern appeal success sees pub helping other venues

A popular central Croydon pub and music venue has been so successful with an online fund-raising appeal that it is now sharing some donations with other independent venues around the country that have been hard-hit by lockdown closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Esther Sutton ready to set off with another batch of food from The Oval Tavern for NHS workers

There’s still no set date for when pubs such as The Oval Tavern will be able to reopen, but the backing that landlady Esther Sutton and her team have received through their crowdfunding efforts should at least ensure that they will be open for business when the lockdown ends.

As Sutton says on her appeal page, “Up until March this year we hosted seven sessions of live music per week ranging through contemporary jazz, blues and roots, trad folk, gypsy jazz, big band, klezmer, rock and grunge and everything in between. We’re proud to promote emerging artists and we’re all about the grassroots local scene.

“We also put on events for our LGBT+ community and have strong ties with Croydon Pride, programming the live stage for a crowd of 15,000 partygoers in 2019.

“Our ‘reason for being’ is to keep live music available and accessible for all, brought to you by an amazing team passionate about good-time vibes.”

During the lockdown, The Oval had been keeping its kitchens open to offer a takeaway service on roast dinners, and beer, while also ferrying freshly-cooked meals to frontline NHS workers at Mayday Hospital. They have also been live streaming gigs from some of their musical performers.

After running for barely a week, by lunchtime today, the pub’s online crowdfunder had raised £14,000 – £2,000 more than The Oval’s original target. The appeal closes on Thursday evening.

“Your donations will help secure our future, contributing to our running costs during this tricky time, supporting our freelance sound engineers and maintaining this historic building until we can reopen,” Sutton said.

“Everything above the amount we need will be donated to the Music Venue Trust GMV Crisis Fund to protect other venues just like ours, right across the country.”

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email inside.croydon@btinternet.com
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