The PRS For Music Awards are something that I have not been aware of, and we should given the well publicised threat to local small venues up and down the country. PRS for Music, which protects the rights of more than 135,000 songwriters and composers, ensures music creators are represented whenever their music is used or performed in public. The organisation established the PRS for Music Heritage Award in 2009 to celebrate the important role that music venues play in supporting songwriters at the start of their careers, giving them a platform to perform in front of a live audience for the very first time. They are like the famous blue plaques that denote where famous people have lived. A list of previous awards can be found below within this article. These accolades are given to those live music venues across the UK that have played a crucial role in helping to create music history, by giving now-famous acts their first ever gig and helping them on their way to success.It has never been more important to keep music real in these days of manufactured corporate music for the masses played in arenas.

Nigel Elderton, Chairman, PRS for Music, said: “Ten years ago, we established the PRS for Music Heritage Award, to recognise live music venues that have given some of the UK’s most beloved and iconic acts their start. These small, local venues are where artists can earn their first bit of money from making music and often play a life-changing role at the very beginning of their careers, leaving an indelible mark on culture. Those artists go on to bigger stages, and bigger audiences, across the UK and indeed the world. I am delighted that we are honouring the Star Inn that has served as a music venue for more than 400 years – and continues to be a local hub for creatives and music fans alike.”

Legendary British band The Stranglers have presented a 400-year-old local pub in Surrey, the Star Inn, with the prestigious PRS for Music Heritage Award for 2019. Originally from Guildford, The Stranglers first performed at their local hometown pub, the Star Inn, on 21 December 1974, just three months after forming (initially as The Guildford Stranglers), in September that same year. This early act of generosity marked a turning point for the band which would see them become vital instigators of the UK punk rock movement, and release 23 Top 40 singles, 18 Top 40 albums, and a slew of now-iconic hits including Golden Brown, Peaches, No More Heroes and Hanging Around, in the years that followed. A lucky opportunity to play at their local music venue, saw the band attract a dedicated following from the very start, cementing a special relationship between band and venue.

The Stranglers, said: “The space that the Star Inn has created here is incredibly valuable to British music culture, they’ve played a huge role in giving emerging acts, like us at the time, a stage, helping them to thrive. They definitely deserve to be acknowledged with the PRS for Music Heritage Award to mark this pivotal moment in British music history.”

Grassroot music venues like the Star Inn provide a crucial environment for new and emerging acts to harness and develop their talent, try out new songs, experiment with creative identity, and build the foundations for a long-lasting fan base. These venues have witnessed the birth of some of the nation’s most loved music legends. Previous PRS for Music Heritage Awards have been given to venues that have helped the likes of Queen, Madness, Pulp, Spandau Ballet, UB40, Status Quo, Soul II Soul, Sir Elton John CBE, Blur and many more at the start of their musical careers.

Georgina ‘George’ Baker, Owner of the Star Inn, said: “We feel very much part of the fabric of The Stranglers’ history and so it’s an honour to receive this award. We pride ourselves on investing in emerging talent and giving them the platform they deserve and plan to do so for a very long time to come.”

This year’s PRS for Music Heritage Award plaque was unveiled by The Stranglers at a special red carpet ceremony at the Star Inn, Guildford. The unveiling of the plaque sees the start of what’s sure to be a hectic year for the revitalised band as they embark on their upcoming UK tour, Back on the Tracks, spanning 19 dates, 28 February – 30 March 2019.

Full List of PRS for Music Heritage Awards:

2009    Blur – East Anglian Railway Museum, 1989
2009    Dire Straits – Farrer House, Deptford, 1977
2010    Jethro Tull – Blackpool Holy Trinity Family Church, 1964
2010    Squeeze – Greenwich Dance Agency, 1975
2010    Sir Elton John – The Northwood Hills Hotel, 1962
2010    Snow Patrol – The Duke of York, Belfast, 1998
2010    Status Quo – Welcome Inn, Eltham, 1967
2011    UB40 – Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath, 1979
2011    James – Fac 51 Haçienda, Manchester, 1982
2012    Soul II Soul – Electric Brixton, 1991
2012    Faithless – Jazz Café, Camden, 1996
2012    Supergrass – The Jericho Tavern, Oxford, 1994
2013    Queen – Imperial College London, 1970
2013    Orbital – The Garage, Highbury, 1990
2014    Spandau Ballet – The Blitz Club, Covent Garden, 1979
2015    Pulp – The Leadmill, Sheffield, 1980
2017    Madness – The Dublin Castle, Camden, 1979
2019    The Stranglers, Star Inn, 1974

I think this is a great initiative and serves to inform us of the fabric of our music industry. If you are local then support these venues. If you are visiting the area then pop into one of the venues if you can and show your support that way. If there is a show on then the current artists will be following in the footsteps of some pretty illustrious predecessors. As a lot of these venues are local hostelries then you might be able to soak up a cold drinks as well as soaking up history.

Masters of their own highly original sound, that combines a brilliant melodic touch with dark aggression and effortless cool, The Stranglers are now recognised as one of the most credible and influential bands to have emerged from the punk era. With record-breaking, sell-out shows and festival appearances in the UK and throughout the world, demand to see and hear the band is at an all-time high, testament surely to their considerable musical talent and enduring quality of their songs.

During a hectic year of touring the Southern Hemisphere, Europe and the UK, The Stranglers have also been busy writing and rehearsing new material; audiences can expect to experience some of these new cuts, alongside classic favourites and lesser performed numbers drawn from their eloquent and extensive catalogue spanning over forty years.