Warchild BRITs Week

O2 have teamed up once again with charity Warchild to put on a string of concerts in the last few weeks to fundraise.

I could hardly contain my excitement when O2 announced that this year they would continue their annual partnership with Warchild for “Warchild BRITs Week”. O2, in the weeks preceding the BRITs, get huge bands to play grassroots venues to help raise money for Warchild. Warchild is a remarkable charity to say the least. Their headline is “the charity for children affected by war”; Warchild helps children displaced by wars to find safety. In addition, it offers therapy and support to children who have been exposed to traumas that come with these wars, and aims to give these children an education and skills for the future.

Warchild also places advocating for children’s rights as one of its core aims, both by representatives standing up for them or by ensuring children affected by atrocities have a voice. The line-up of bands for this year’s BRITs week was stellar (as per usual), and included intimate performances from Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, The 1975, Idles, Jess Glynne, You Me At Six, Jake Bugg and Anne Marie. These artists, many fresh from arena-filling tours, played some of London’s best grassroots venues, including Omeara, The Dome in Tufnell Park, and The Garage in Islington. It’s quite remarkable to see a band going from performing to 20,000 people to a mere 500.

I was lucky enough to score some notoriously-difficult-to-purchase tickets to see my favourite band, The 1975, up close and personal at The Garage. This was the second time I’d seen them on BRITs week, having caught them 2 years ago at The Dome. Just like in 2017, Warchild gave a presentation before the band took to the stage, explaining what they do and just how important these concerts were for raising money for Warchild. However, this year Warchild brought one of their Youth Ambassadors to the stage to tell their story, which was incredibly moving.

The founder of Warchild introduced us to Oscar, who had been directly helped by Warchild’s work, and it was incredible to see just how invaluable their work is. Oscar had been born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and been displaced by war. Luckily, an official refugee scheme allowed him and his siblings to move to the UK; Warchild then provided him with the support he needed and made him one of their ambassadors. Despite not knowing his true date of birth, and not being able to read and write when he came to UK, Oscar now has 9 GCSEs and has a place confirmed at university to study Film. Various events Oscar has spoken at for Warchild have also raised over £2 million for the cause. Seeing just how much a charity can tangibly affect someone’s life was amazing, and many of the audience were moved to tears.

As for the gig, The 1975 were on top form, and really come into their own in an intimate setting. The band surprised many fans by picking a setlist of fan-favourites mostly from their first few EPs and debut album, paying homage to the times when they would play headline shows at small venues like the ones in BRITs week. Support came from Beabadoobee, who has recently been signed on to the 1975’s label Dirty Hit, who makes infectious, heartfelt acoustic ballads. Overall, it was a great night of live music in one of my favourite venues, and knowing the money spent on tickets was going towards such a great cause made it that much better.

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MusicAlex KitchingComment