By Kennedi Johnson
Award-winning musician Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics is launching an extremely innovative pop and rock concert series: “Church Keys.” Stewart’s own “idea factory,” Dave Stewart Entertainment, is partnering with the Churches Conservation Trust to repurpose abandoned churches throughout the UK into unique concert venues.
The concert series idea is a nod to one of the church’s original functions: the creation of music. As they had for centuries before, the abandoned churches will once again ring with the sound of music. However, instead of hymns and Gregorian chants, the churches will host sounds of pop, rock and folk. “These churches are part of the fabric of England’s history,” says Stewart. “The buildings themselves hold so many stories in their walls. We want to expand that legacy and give it a soundtrack. We have so much reverence for these spaces, and it’s an honor to showcase them in a different light.”
A UK national heritage charity, the Churches Conservation Trust was naturally very interested in helping to develop this musical restoration project. “In order to ensure the future of these buildings, we want to make them what they used to be when the parish was the hub of the community,” Chairman Loyd Grossman told the Telegraph. “Music and churches are just so closely intertwined, whether it’s sacred or pop music is almost irrelevant because these are such great venues and the music brings people together.”
In addition to using the UK’s breathtaking churches as venues, “Church Keys” hopes to introduce up-and-coming artists to concert-goers. With the path to fame and recognition growing increasingly difficult and expensive, Stewart aims to provide an opportunity for new musicians to perform without all the extra hoops to jump through.
“Church Keys” began on June 16 at Langport’s All Saints’ Church with singer-songwriters Chris Difford and Nik Kershaw as headliners. Other confirmed performance locations throughout the summer include Cambridge, Blackburn, Eresham and Kings Lynn.
To view future dates and to grab tickets for “Church Keys,” click here. To read more about the latest projects of Dave Stewart Entertainment, click here. For more information on the Churches Conservation Trust’s mission to save at-risk historic churches, click here.