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Ed Sheeran backs Music Venue Trust’s Own Our Venues campaign

By | Published on Monday 26 September 2022

Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran has pledged his support to the Music Venue Trust’s Own Our Venues campaign, which sees the trade body raising money to buy the freeholds of various UK grassroots music venues in order to safeguard their respective futures.

“Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind”, says Sheeran. “Small, independent venues are so, so important to the music community, and I’ve played some of my favourite gigs of my career in these rooms. We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come”.

Launched in May, the campaign is attempting to raise £3.5 million to buy up nine music venues around the UK in an initial pilot. The MVT says that currently 93% of British music venues rent their premises, and that this “underpins almost every other challenge” currently being faced by those businesses – including rising costs, licensing issues, and problems resulting from the gentrification of areas where grassroots venues are often based.

Any venues purchased will be operated by Music Venue Properties – a charitable community benefit society set up by MVT, which is raising money by selling community shares through ethical investment specialists Ethex and a crowdfunding campaign. Investors will receive a 3% APR return on their investments, it says.

In addition to confirming Sheeran’s support, the MVT has also announced that the deadline to invest has been extended to the end of this year.

“We have extended the deadline for investors to come on board through until 31 Dec 2022 to give everyone a chance to get behind this project and make it a reality”, says Matt Otridge, Ownership Coordinator for Music Venue Trust. “We have had an incredible response to this initiative right across the music industry and the music community, and we can’t wait to announce some very substantial investments from key stakeholders shortly”.

On the crowdfunding side, the Own Our Venues scheme has so far secured £350,000 of its £2.5 million target. It’s not clear how much of the big old tax saving multi-millionaire Sheeran can expect – thanks to the nifty tax cuts for the rich announced by the UK government on Friday – will now be pumped into the scheme. But, either way, you can add in your own money here, even if you’re not rich enough to enjoy those super big Tory tax savings.