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UK music industry supports grassroots venue investment fund

By | Published on Friday 21 December 2018

Music Venue Trust

Numerous organisations from across the British music industry have given support to the idea of creating a ‘pipeline investment fund’ to support the grassroots live music network in the UK.

The fund was proposed by the Music Venue Trust at its Venues Day event back in October, and would seek to find ways to raise money from within the music industry that could be used to fund infrastructure, sound and lights in grassroots venues; acquire freeholds on the properties utilised by such venues to assure their long-term future; offer centralised legal, planning and licensing advice; and other training and support for those involved in the grassroots live sector.

The aim of the fund would be to tackle the widely documented challenges facing many grassroots venues across the UK. Which is to say, the challenges that have led to many venues closing down, depriving local music fans of easy access to grassroots music and early-career artists of a platform via which to hone their performance skills and build an initial fanbase.

Specifics of how the fund would work are still to be decided and discussed, but at Venues Day MVT encouraged other stakeholder groups in the music industry to support the initiative by signing a ‘statement of intent’. The likes of the Musicians’ Union, the Concert Promoters Association, the National Arena Association, the Entertainment Agents Association, the Music Managers Forum and the Music Industries Association have now done so.

As has UK Live Music, the committee that sits within UK Music and which brings together representatives from across the live music sector. Its Chair, Greg Parmley of ILMC, said yesterday: “With 35% of the UK’s grassroots venues having closed over the last ten 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”.

Meanwhile MVT’s Beverley Whitrick added: “We asked the UK music industry to sign up to the concept that we need to take collective financial action on the challenges facing grassroots venues. We are delighted with the response from the industry and the willingness to find positive, constructive solutions so that we can properly protect the grassroots music venues pipeline from which, ultimately, everyone benefits”.

You can read the full statement of intent and more about the proposed fund here.