The [@WindmillBrixton] highlights the crucial role of independent venues with new initiative

In the wake of a further delay to the full return of live music, The Windmill Brixton is joining with Dr. Martens to highlight the critical role independent venues play in supporting the scene at grassroots level with the launch of Come Back Better; An initiative to help more female, trans and non-binary artists make it onto the main stage post-pandemic.

The new support programme will see The Windmill – described as ‘the epicentre of the capital’s underground music scene’ – enlist the support of its creative community to provide unsigned non-male acts with access to industry know-how and connections. From today, artists will be able to apply for a range of support, developed to rebalance the lack of development opportunities for emerging artists during the past year, including the chance to bag a support slot for post-punk heavy-hitters, Goat Girl, at a celebratory venue showcase on 30th June.

Developed in response to this year’s wave of male-heavy festival line ups, aspiring non-male musicians will be able to apply for a range of networking, mentorship and collaboration opportunities across the next two weeks, commissioned by Dr. Martens to help new artists propel their profiles.

Celebrated graphic artist Raissa Padini – renowned for her portfolio of album and tour poster visuals for bands such as Idles, SQUID, and The Orielles – will offer her services designing original eye-catching artwork. Scene photographer Holly Whitaker (Squid, Liam Gallagher, Lynkz) will jump behind the lens to capture striking profile and promo shots. Slow Dance Records‘ Maddy O’Keefe, will deploy her expertise managing and collaborating with artists including PVA, annd Loraine James to provide constructive guidance on profile-building and promotion in a one-to-one session. And finally, the acclaimed Goat Girl will hand-pick a support act to play at the Come Back Better live performance and Q&A at The Windmill on 30 June.

Accompanying this are a series of networking socials run by independent label Ladies Music Pub, and Vocal Girls, a collective and platform championing female and LGBTQ+ creatives. The Windmill will also open up demo submissions to the venue’s bookers and promoters for future gig opportunities.

The launch of Come Back Better follows a turbulent year for The Windmill, highlighted as critically endangered by Music Venues Trust due to the financial impact of the lockdown on independent venues. Unable to secure government funding, its continuing fight for survival has seen the much-loved venue’s alumni, including ShameBlack Midi and Black Country, New Road, unite to raise over £80k to keep its doors open.

The Windmill and Dr. Martens collaboration continues the brand’s commitment to improving access to creative opportunities as part of its ongoing Tough As You initiative, which aims to support and raise awareness of the challenges faced by emerging creatives and grassroots culture. In recent months, Dr. Martens has donated £10,000 to Music Venues Trust in support of the organisation’s safeguarding of pandemic-hit venues, worked with producer Batu to establish a new community music studio in Bristol, and funded the pressing of Nova Twins’ first ‘Voices For The Unheard’ vinyl compilation in aid of The Black Curriculum.

Applications to The Windmill’s Come Back Better initiative in partnership with Dr. Martens are now open, and can be made via 

To register for tickets to The Windmill & Dr. Martens Present Come Back Better live event on 30 June, head to

Click here for more information on Dr. Martens Presents.

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