EURYTHMICS co-founder Dave Stewart and the Churches Conservation Trust, the national heritage charity, are launching Church Keys, a ground-breaking new partnership to bring the best of 21st-century music and arts to England's historic "locked-up" churches.

The first such family-friendly concert in York will present an acoustic bill of Sunderland's The Lake Poets and York support acts Alistair Griffin and Zak Ford by candlelight at the Grade 1 listed Holy Trinity Church, in Goodramgate, from 6pm on Sunday. A further York musician, probably female, may be added to this "launch pad for promising new artists".

The Lake Poets, managed by Dave Stewart, is essentially a solo project for Wearside multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and troubadour Martin Longstaff, whose haunting and beautiful songs are inspired by Warren Zevon, Carole King, Villagers, Feist, Van Morrison, Fionn Regan, John Martyn, Wilco, Damien Rice, Bright Eyes, Neil Young and Tom Waits.

Longstaff recorded The Lake Poets's self-titled debut album at Blackbird Studio, for release last October, including a double-gatefold 12" vinyl special edition with a bonus live recording of the album from two sold-out launch nights in Martin's hometown.

York Press:

The Lake Poets' Martin Wagstaff

Longstaff has supported Willy Mason, Ben Howard, Daughter and Jake Bugg, played prestigious venues such as London's Union Chapel and Roundhouse and Sage, Gateshead and appeared at the Glastonbury and T in the Park festivals. Lead single Your Face has received more than three million Spotify plays, as well as daytime airplay on BBC 6 Music, BBC Radio 2 and Radio X.

In partnership with Fuller's Brewery, Dave Stewart Entertainment and the Churches Conservation Trust launched Church Keys on June 16 with a packed-out concert at All Saints' Church at Langport, near Glastonbury. Compere Stewart was joined by Squeeze founding member Chris Difford, Nik Kershaw and attendees from Difford’s Song Writing Retreat, including The Lake Poets.

The Church Keys endeavour aims to create an "entirely new touring circuit, re-purposing England’s most venerated and historic buildings for an ancient use: the creation and celebration of music in intimate, close-up performances ". Each event will have a bar offering beers from sponsor Fuller’s Brewery.

This is not Stewart’s first foray into the world of churches: in 1983, he and Eurythmics singer Annie Lennox bought and restored a derelict church in London’s Crouch End to transform it into recording studio. Now owned by producer Paul Epworth, its facilities have been used for albums by U2 and Adele.

York Press:

The Lake Poets' Martin Longstaff: from Sunderland, just like Dave Stewart. Picture: Paul Boyd

"I'm thrilled to have partnered with the Churches Conservation Trust and together share a focussed vision on how to breathe life back into these beautiful buildings and turn them into a new kind of community centre," says Stewart. "To have Fuller’s Brewery and Raymond Weil sponsor our initial tour is the type of commitment to the arts that's needed now more than ever.

"I can’t think of a better way to bring the community together to celebrate these historic churches than with music. Artists have been transforming neighbourhoods and cities for centuries; just look at Notting Hill or downtown New York City. The Lake Poets are one of the most exciting new talents emerging from Britain right now, and Marty’s origins with Sunderland – like my own – make this a really meaningful association for myself."

Trust chairman Loyd Grossman adds: "The phrase 'a cappella’ literally means ‘in the chapel’ and music has always been one of the most important forms of participation; these beautiful churches are custom designed and tested over centuries to produce music. The introduction of these musical acts is the most wonderful way of putting new wine in some very old and beautiful bottles."

Tickets for The Lake Poets cost £11 at