SAGE Gateshead has thanked music fans across the region who have donated £1 million to the first phase of its Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance Fundraising Campaign.

A year ago, following the temporary closure of its iconic building and with 80 per cent of its income affected, Sage Gateshead launched its fundraising drive, setting out a three-year arc on which the organisation hopes to raise £3 million towards surviving the pandemic and supporting artists and communities.

The campaign, championed by Dame Margaret Barbour and Sting, now moves into phase two - from crisis to recovery wiht the aim of raising a further £1m from public donations by March next year.

Sage Gateshead is still operating behind closed doors, and again faces financial challenges with income from box office and trading set to be significantly less than in pre-Covid times.

Thanks to a loan from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund Round Two, it has secured finance which will go a long way to helping it navigate the year.

Abigail Pogson, Managing Director of Sage Gateshead said: “We are very grateful to have raised £1m in the first year. "This has helped us overcome the initial crisis and find new ways to support live music in the North-East.

"We have shared 88 digital concerts, workshops and podcasts which have been enjoyed over 2 million times; children and young people have taken part in over 7,800 online music sessions; and we have supported 199 artists.

“From our audiences who contributed the value of their tickets, to donors who came on board, sometimes for the first time – every penny counted. We would not be where we are today without their support and we would like to say a huge ‘thank you’.

“We still need to raise at least £2 million to get through 2021/22, including £1 million through public support for this next stage of our Crisis, Recovery and Renaissance campaign.

"This will enable us to support artists to make and perform extraordinary music; to ensure all children and young people from our region can find joy, develop life skills and build careers in and through music; and to bring our communities together safely and support their wellbeing."

Abigail added: “We cannot wait to get back to making music, contributing to the North East’s recovery by bringing people together, supporting health and wellbeing, and nurturing the great talent in our region. A huge thank you to all those music lovers who helped us reach that £1million milestone in the first year. We have seen in the past year that together we can secure the future of live music in the North-East.”