Grassroots of Home: Tom Jones joins small-gig kick-start for UK live music scene

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LONDON (Reuters) - Tom Jones and Rag'n'Bone Man are the star names in a line-up of singers scheduled to give more than 300 concerts at grassroots venues across Britain this summer, helping to kick-start a live music industry shut down during COVID-19.

The National Lottery is contributing 1 million pounds ($1.38 million) towards touring and production costs for the Revive Live Tour, which it launched on Wednesday along with UK charity Music Venue Trust.

"Musicians can record in their bedrooms, but they can’t learn to perform in public without a place to play," veteran crooner Jones, who will give a one-off show in September at the Cambridge Junction in Cambridge, said.

"Without that, there is no way you can communicate directly to people."

Chart topper Rag'n'Bone Man, singers Mahalia, James Arthur, Frank Turner and Sam Fender as well as band Fontaines D.C. will also perform one-off shows.

Revive Live will also feature more than 20 tours with artists such as The Futureheads, The Magic Gang, Olivia Dean and Twin Atlantic.

Like elsewhere, live music in public ceased in Britain during its coronavirus lockdowns. According to a Music Venue Trust survey, UK grassroots venues are carrying collective debt of 45 million pounds ($62 million).

Hospitality venues in England are currently hosting audiences at 50% capacity. From July 19, they will no longer be subject to limits on numbers under a progressive easing of COVID-19 curbs by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Revive Live tickets go on sale on Monday, with around half - or up to 30,000 - to be gifted to National Lottery players.

($1 = 0.7242 pounds)

(Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; editing by John Stonestreet)

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