A number of music organisations have come together to tackle the crisis facing grassroots music venues in the UK, with the launch of a new pipeline investment fund headed up by Music Venue Trust.
Grassroots music venues are significant to the live music scene, with a network of around 500 venues providing musicians with the platform to perform and develop their careers.
A statement of intent for a pipeline development fund was formulated and launched by Music Venue Trust on Venues Day in October 2018, including signatures from the Musicians Union, UK Live Music, Concert Promoters Association, National Arena Association, Entertainment Agents Association, Music Managers Forum and Music Industries Association.
It was sent to key music stakeholders in the industry, aiming to prompt conversation about how to protect and, subsequently, improve grassroots music venues, and to encourage financial investment. This funding would cover infrastructure, sound and lighting costs; acquiring freeholds to give venues protected ownership; developing training and apprenticeship programmes; and providing legal, planning and licensing advice.
The music organisations that signed the statement will be working together in early 2019 to come up with financial solutions.
Greg Parmley of UK Live Music/ILMC told Music Venue Trust: “With 35 per cent of the UK’s grassroots venues having closed over the last 10 years, it’s time for the industry to act; we need structured and planned investment to secure these vital spaces against development, rent rises, poor infrastructure and failing facilities.”
Suzanne Bull, CEO of Attitude is Everything also spoke with the charity: “Attitude is Everything strongly supports the creation of a Pipeline Investment Fund to support the UK’s vital grassroots touring network. With the right support, local grassroots venues have the potential be some of the most readily accessible sources of live music for disabled audiences. Added capacity for venues to invest in physical infrastructure would have a massive impact alongside our existing schemes to improve online and policy-based accessibility in partnership with venues. The prospect of a new grant scheme for emerging artist touring and new training opportunities is also very exciting – we know first-hand the impact these schemes could have, including on disabled artists and venue staff eager to welcome all audiences.”
You can read our exclusive interview with Suzanne Bull about her campaign, Attitude is Everything, that is working to increase access for the disabled community at live music venues here.