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New report on Bristol’s live music scene calls for more political support for grass roots venues and promoters

By | Published on Monday 7 March 2016


A new report by UK Music and Buckinghamshire New University focused on the live music scene in Bristol has revealed that 50% of the city’s venues have been affected by development, noise or planning issues, which – says the study – “poses a huge threat to the future of this vibrant ecosystem”.

The music industry group teamed up with the university to conduct a census of live music in Bristol on the back of the various concerns expressed in recent years about the challenges facing grass roots venues in the UK. It picked the South West city because it was “known for its vibrant and influential live music scene”.

The report, which will be formally published later today, reckons live music in Bristol generated £123 million of revenue for the local economy last year, plus is responsible for 927 jobs in the city. The census found 94 venues staging music events, while nearly a quarter of the people attending gigs in the city came from outside the Bristol area. About a third of gig-goers surveyed said that they spent between £20 and £50 a month on concert tickets, while the average sum then spent on merch at the venue on the night was £18.

Which is all great news but, says Teresa Moore of Bucks New University: “Our research found that the unintended consequences of changes to planning legislation have created a real threat to the future of small venues, which are central to the city’s future”.

UK Music boss Jo Dipple added: “Our project with Bucks New University delves for the first time into a local music ecosystem, Bristol. It reveals what we might all assume, that Bristol supports a sizeable music economy. Bristol’s vibrant grassroots live music scene has been a bedrock of a rich musical lineage. Our research, however, also shows that 50% of Bristol venues are threatened by development and planning issues”.

UK Music obviously hopes that the new focused report will help persuade political types, both nationally and locally, to do more to help support the grass roots live music scene, and to help combat the challenges key venues and promoter face. Dipple added: “Given the contribution to the wider economy, it has never been more important to address such issues critical to grassroots music”.