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Festival-headlining band to play grassroots music venue in Bradford

A festival-headlining band will play a small grassroots music venue in Bradford city centre after a push by local rock fans.

The Wombats, who headlined the Sunday of last year’s Bingley Music Live, will be back in the district next month to return to their roots by playing a much smaller crowd.

The Liverpool-based rockers, behind tracks like Let’s Dance To Joy Division, will play The Underground on Duke Street on Sunday, February 11, part of a short tour where they will be swapping larger venues for lesser known, grassroots venues.

While they played to a crowd of tens of thousands at Bingley Live, the crowd at their Underground gig is likely to be around 350.

Their tour is in support of the Music Venue Trust – a group set up to secure the long term future of grassroots music venues, and the band had approached the trust to ask for a list of smaller venues they could play.

Fans were asked to go online and “drop a magnet” on a map of the UK to signify which city, town or village they would most want to see the band play.

Bradford-based Wombats fans did enough to secure the city as a stop on the tour, and The Underground was the venue suggested by the trust.

Other venues they will play on the tour include the Crauford Arms in Milton Keynes and the Bootleg Social in Blackpool.

Those who dropped the magnets were given pre-sale options for the tickets, meaning tickets will be scarce when they go on sale.

Further details of ticket sales have yet to be announced.

The Underground, just a few yards from Darley Street, only opened in Summer of 2016, but has already grown to become one of the top local music venues, hosting acts like Maverick Sabre and Tom Hingley, frontman of Inspiral Carpets.

Nigel Booth, who set up the Underground, said: “This is not just good for us, it is also great for Bradford, it shows we can attract these names.

“We had been pushing for them to come here as part of this tour, but the main reason we were picked was people power.

“The band have said that they came from grassroots venues like us and wanted to support them.

“We have one of the best PA systems for a grassroots venue, so it is going to be a brilliant-sounding gig. It is great that the gig is happening thanks to local people voting, so they will be able to experience the gig they helped happen.”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the Music Venue Trust, is originally from Bradford, and praised The Underground for proving such a success when many similar venues were closing.

She said: “The band came to us and said they wanted to support our work. We put forward the names of some venues that were part of our network that we thought would be ideal.

“We wanted to highlight venues either in smaller towns or villages, or cities that weren’t particularly well known for their live music scene. It is really nice to see somewhere that isn’t Manchester or London being chosen. Bradford was one of the venues we put forward and we’re delighted to see The Underground chosen.

“We feel places like this are needed for the country to have a really healthy network of music venues that bands can develop in. That is what we are trying to do with this tour, highlight those venues.”

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