A new fundraising initiative aimed at helping fans to support vulnerable UK music venues, theatres and pubs called #VirtualPint has launched, in response to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.

The fundraiser, which allows fans to buy virtual drinks in exchange for entry into a prize draw, is already being celebrated by artists, festivals and industry.

Those who want contribute to the cause can buy a virtual pint for £3.50, a virtual cocktail for £5, or a virtual round for £20, with the menu extending to non-alcoholic beverages. Supporters will be entered into a prize draw, which includes tickets to festivals such as End of the Road, 2000TREES and ArcTanGent. Other prizes include band merchandise; bar tabs; recording time at The Libertines’ The Albion Room studio and gig tickets, with more to be announced.

50% of the proceeds will go to the Music Venue Trust, which provides support to venues across the UK, and 50% will go directly to small and independent venues within the UK. The money will go to helping those venues most at risk, to support them and pay towards overheads that may not be covered by any government initiatives. The allocation of funds will be decided by a committee assembled by Green House Group, which is coordinating the initiative.

Artists, festivals and other members of the industry have already helped raise awareness for the cause, with supporters including The Libertines, The Kooks, Echo and the Bunnymen, Reverend and the Makers, Sorry, End of the Road, 2000TREES, ArcTanGent, NME, Clash Magazine, Drowned In Sound, Louder, The Line of Best Fit, Complete Music Update, Loud & Quiet, UK Music, Tunbridge Wells Forum, Southbank Centre, The Lexington, and Shed Seven.

Fans can support the campaign by visiting http://bit.ly/virtualpints, which currently stands at almost 50% of its initial goal, and follow its progress via FacebookInstagram and Twitter.