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Music Venue Trust says a million in emergency funding is needed to ensure grassroots venues can survive the COVID-19 shutdown

By | Published on Tuesday 31 March 2020

Music Venue Trust

The UK’s Music Venue Trust yesterday called on the music industry, the wider cultural sector and Britain’s most successful musicians to come together to create a million pound ‘fighting fund’ to prevent the closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues in the UK as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.

The enforced shutdown of the live sector is causing chaos across the wider music community of course. However, for grassroots venues – which are already operating on incredibly tight profit margins – that short-term shutdown may result in long-term closure, despite the various government measures to support small businesses.

The MVT said yesterday: “Despite government action, over 550 grassroots music venues remain under immediate threat of closure, representing the potential permanent loss of over 5000 jobs, over 100,000 concerts, over 300,000 performances by musicians, and over one million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers”.

“These devastating outcomes for musicians, production and touring crew and everyone who relies on the grassroots sector would be per annum and permanent”, the MVT went on. “Any grassroots music venue permanently closed by this crisis will not be reopened”.

Beyond the direct impact of those potential closures, the grassroots venue network remains key in allowing new talent to develop their sound and find an audience. Initial shows at these venues allow artists – who are usually operating on a DIY basis at that point – to build sufficient momentum to ultimately interest the music industry. The grassroots venue network, therefore, is a crucial part of the wider industry’s talent pipeline.

MVT already has an emergency response service that supports venues which are, for one reason or another, in risk of closure. The organisation says it needs to raise a million pounds to put that fund “on a crisis footing”. Noting that last year its emergency response service helped prevent 91 venue closures, it adds: “In the next three months alone, MVT needs the resources and financial backing to prevent over 550 potential closures”.

If it can raise a million, MVT says it will “be able to respond directly and dynamically to every threatened closure and provide emergency financial support when required to prevent the permanent closure of grassroots music venues. With your help, Music Venue Trust believes we can prevent every closure. We won’t accept that this crisis should result in 500 closures. Or 200. Or even 100. With your help, we can fight every single one”.

There is more information on how to support the scheme here.