Sex Pistols and Frank Carter team up to save historic London venue

The organisers behind a historic London music venue under threat of closure have said they “jumped at the chance” to host singer-songwriter Frank Turner and members of the Sex Pistols for a fund-raising event.

Turner is teaming up with original Sex Pistols members Paul Cook, Glen Matlock and Steve Jones for two shows at Bush Hall in Shepherd’s Bush, west London, with proceeds going back to the grassroots venue.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched in March as venue bosses warned that they were only four months away from being forced to make a “hideous decision” about its future, citing a “dramatic” shift in the post-pandemic marketplace compounded by the cost of living crisis, soaring energy prices and the end of their fixed-rate mortgage.

Since it became a music venue in 2001, Bush Hall has hosted a variety of legendary performers, including Amy Winehouse, Adele, and REM.

While the fundraiser has already surpassed its £42,000 target, the Sex Pistols and Turner are going to additional lengths to help protect it by performing the punk band’s iconic 1977 album, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols in full on 13 and 14 August.

Lara Coker-Hutchins, Bush Hall’s commercial director, told The Independent: “Paul Cook came to us and asked if he could put on the show with all proceeds coming back to us.

“We jumped at the chance, it is an honour to have the Sex Pistols in the venue, we couldn’t have imagined that the front runners of the punk movement would do this for us – we’re still pinching ourselves!”

Frank Turner and the original members of the Sex Pistols (sans John Lydon) are playing a fundraiser gig for Bush Hall in London (Press)
Frank Turner and the original members of the Sex Pistols (sans John Lydon) are playing a fundraiser gig for Bush Hall in London (Press)

Coker-Hutchins said the government “should be doing more” to help support the UK’s live music scene: “Their eyes should be on the benefit of cultural entertainment for the population. Live music events are more than just artists and audiences; there are so many more people behind the scenes.”

Since the pandemic, keeping live music venues above water has become increasingly challenging. Last year, Bush Hall saw a 24.5 per cent decrease in live music bookings.

The grassroots venue is not the only one struggling to stay afloat. The Music Venues Trust (MVT) said financial stresses led 125 UK venues to abandon live music in 2023, with over half of these closing down completely.

Mark Davyd, the CEO of Music Venue Trust, said: “Bush Hall is such a fantastic venue, it’s great to see Frank and the members of the Pistols getting behind the campaign to ensure it has a bright and sustainable future”.


Frank Carter said in a statement: “This has been a joy from start to finish. When the Sex Pistols call, you answer. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

Glen Matlock added: “Smaller music venues are the lifeblood of new music. It’s these intimate spaces that raw talent gets to shine and where the spirit of live music truly comes alive so we need to keep them going.”

Funds raised from the two shows will be donated to Bush Hall to give them greater financial security, improve their in-house facilities and to support emerging artists through reigniting their Bush Hall Presents Programme.

Fightback lager, a beer created in 2018 by the MVT to help live music venues create a sustainable income, will also be sold during the events.

Advocating for Bush Hall, a fundamental part of London’s music scene, is an important cause to both the Pistols and Carter. Both Cook and guitarist Jones grew up in west London and have frequented the venue as fans over the years.

Meanwhile, Carter performed his debut live show with his former band Pure Love back in 2012.

Tickets for the event go on sale from 9am on Wednesday 5 June and are available here.

The Independent launched Main Stage, its own initiative to support grassroots music venues around the UK, in April, which you can read about here.