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Transport booking app Free Now, which recently became the new sponsor of the Mercury Music Prize, is to underwrite the costs of 120 shows by artists in 60 UK grassroots music venues.

The scheme, run in partnership with grassroots venues charity Music Venue Trust (MVT), will see Public Service Broadcasting (pictured) play a show at London’s 200-capacity Peckham Audio on 23 August. It will be the first of three “hero” shows that will see established artists return to small grassroots music venues,

The band’s frontman, J. Wilgoose Esq, said “I honestly don’t think Public Service Broadcasting would be a going concern without grassroots venues. If we’re going to continue to have such an extraordinarily successful musical and cultural scene here in the UK, not to mention profitable to the Exchequer, we have to ensure that these venues not only survive but thrive, giving the next generation of musicians and artists the platforms they need to hone their acts and learn their trade.”

MVT CEO Mark Davyd said, “Music Venue Trust is working hard with venues to identify acts which we know are the next Mercury Prize nominees and give people the chance to experience them early on in their careers in some outstanding venues before they move up to the biggest venues and festivals.”