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Marissa Cetin
9 April 2024, 14:39

Fatboy Slim DJs tiny venue Hot Box fundraiser: “Anything I can do to help”

Norman Cook lent his star power to support the struggling Chelmsford venue with a sold-out rare intimate gig last week

Fatboy Slim DJs tiny venue Hot Box fundraiser: “Anything I can do to help”
Credit: Hot Box

Fatboy Slim played a rare intimate gig last week as part of the effort to save Essex venue Hot Box from closure.

Norman Cook headlined a sold-out show for 120 people on 3rd April at the grassroots venue Hot Box, located under the railway arches in Chelmsford city centre. The venue's owner David Hughes reached out to Cook to help his efforts in securing the venue's future, as Hot Box has taken on about £80,000 of debt, primarily caused by the pandemic, BBC News reports

Fatboy Slim was eager to support Hot Box as it has "a little piece of my heart in it", supported by local DJ Model Man. The gig had a ticket waiting list of more than 1,200 with 90 tickets sold in less than a minute. (The remaining capacity was for friends and family of the venue and performers.)

In an interview with BBC News, Cook stressed the importance of supporting smaller music venues. "Every Adele, every Radiohead, they need venues like this to start out in", he said. "It's the lifeblood of the music industry, so it's worth preserving... Anything I can do to help small venues stay in business or thrive, I will gladly do to give something back."

A recent report by Music Venue Trust found that 2023 was "the UK's worst year for music venue closures", with 125 grassroots venues closing throughout the year. Of the ones that remain open, more than a third operate at a loss.

Fatboy Slim, who told BBC about the contrast of playing small venues then huge festivals like Creamfields, said, "Every time I go to venues like the Hot Box, I remember the days 40 years ago when I was playing venues like that — they've all got that same vibe and that same smell about them" He added, "At my end of my career, I don't get to play intimate venues so much, but it's a joy".

This isn't the first time Fatboy Slim has used his star power to support grassroots venues. Last October, he played a surprise gig at The Prince Albert pub in his home of Brighton to bolster its campaign against threats from local property developers. 

In February, Norman Cook received an honorary fellowship from BIMM University and launched a new scholarship programme at the modern music and arts institute. 

Fatboy Slim is headed out on his Loves Summer tour in the UK and Ireland this June to August. 

Last October marked the 25th anniversary of Fatboy Slim's hit second album, 'You've Come a Long Way, Baby'. Revisit the "masterclass in sampling" in Ben Cardew's in-depth feature

To support and learn more about Hot Box's recovery and community fund, check out their Crowdfunder campaign