I’m on a six-month mission to support the UK’s musicians and performance artists. With your help, I’ll travel the length of this supremely talented country and stream live shows direct from my camper van.
The UK’s treasured arts industry is on the brink of collapse thanks to COVID-19. Performers have no venues. Venues have no audiences. Many artists are not able to claim sufficient support from the government grant scheme.
With guidelines ever-changing and the future in flux, the country’s performing artists are facing a reality where they are being advised to retrain. NO THANK YOU!
This is why I’m going to spend six months handing the UK’s artists a stage – okay, a van – to perform. I’ll pay them properly for their time, obviously, and live-stream the show.
As I journey through each city I will also be doing my part for local charities and amazing projects. I’ll be sharing the skills of my network and are particularly keen to help those most affected by COVID-19.
Okay so how will this van plan actually…work?
After launch, I will take video applications from artists that want to perform via our website. We will then promote, showcase and live stream – hopefully – between four and eight paid performances a month. For solo acts or small groups where social distancing is possible, the gigs will take place inside the van. If not we will erect a temporary stage outside.
Things kick off in my hometown Brighton with a live stream on the 1st of January The plan is to visit 15 cities and showcase over 100 artists during the next six months, before finishing in Belfast in June 2021.
As I travel to each city, I’ll connect with local charities, groups and projects that need our help in the form of skill sharing. Patreon supporters will then have the opportunity to volunteer their time remotely.
Who comes up with a van plan like this?
My name is Toni Finnimore and I’m the founder of The Social Society. We are a Brighton organisation that connects skilled volunteers with local charities – our members have donated around over 4500 hours of their time thus far.
I have nearly 15 years experience working with charities and provide management consultancy for businesses and organisations in the third sector.
I have an overactive brain but am Aquarian so cosmically wired with assertiveness. I’m a doer and have a HUGE passion for people and social good. The best gig I ever saw was Ludovico Einaudi. Seeing Les Miserables honestly changed my life. Do I love vans, you say? Well, read on.
You must be well acquainted with the #vanlife?
Confession time: I’ve never owned a van. I’ve never road tripped. This trip is literally driving me out of my comfort zone. But nothing is normal anymore. I will be sharing my journey with you via a video vlog – the highs, the hangovers, the beaches, the breakdowns (hopefully the latter being just the van…).
What's the overall cost of a trip like this?
There are a number of costs we need to cover to make this trip a reality. There are capital costs for sound, tech and video equipment. Then marketing, promotion, travel and those breakdowns (again: fingers crossed just the van).
Did I mention we haven't quite funded the van?
Here’s a breakdown of costs:
Van/motorhome – £6,000
Technical Equipment – £5,000
Fuel – £3,000
Artist fees – £10,000
Insurance and vehicle upkeep - £4000
- Will you be living in the van for six months? Yes, that is the plan.
- How will you ensure you are keeping to government COVID-19 guidelines? We will of course be live streaming artists following social distancing guidelines at all times. My direction of travel will be governed at all times by local restrictions. For areas in TIER 3, I will bypass and attempt to return when it’s appropriate.
- Who can apply?
I’d love applications from across the live performance spectrum: from poets to jazzers; dancers to clowns; (small) choirs to comedians. The doors to this van church are wide open.
- How can I follow the video diary and footage of the journey?
You’ll be able to access all footage from the road trip and watch the live streams via our Patreon page.
Thank you for supporting us with our mission to support the arts and charitable organisations across the UK. Wish me luck!
The Social Society is the UK's first social club for social good. We connect businesses and people with charities that need support. Our supporters offer their time, skills, expertise and much needed funds from their fees to local projects. We also run social events to reduce isolation and loneliness. Below is a snapshot of our fabulous end of year festival The Big Session 2019