Arts Council England has formally launched its new Supporting Grassroots Music fund, which will make £5 million in funding available to support grassroots music initiatives.
The UK government previously announced that the cash was being made available when it set out its Creative Industries Sector Vision back in June. The new funding scheme is basically an evolution of the previous Supporting Grassroots Live Music programme. Although, alongside grassroots clubs, venues and promoters, this scheme will also be open to rehearsal and recording studios and festivals.
Those running venues, shows and other businesses at the grassroots of the music industry - who provide crucial support for new music talent - often operate on the tightest of profit margins. The fallout of COVID alongside surging energy prices and the cost of living crisis have all made things even more challenging in that part of the wider music sector.
Announcing the new funding scheme, Arts Council England CEO Darren Henley says: "This investment by the UK government and Arts Council England reaffirms our commitment to supporting this hugely important part of the music industry".
"People value the opportunity to develop and express their creativity", he goes on, "both on their own and with others, and the grassroots music sector excels at giving communities the chance to design and develop creative and cultural activity where they live. We hope this new funding will continue to both address the needs of the sector and empower it to carry on offering high quality live music experiences for audiences across the country".
Welcoming the new funding, the CEO of live music trade group LIVE, Jon Collins, adds: "Like any ecosystem, the UK’s world class live music sector is dependent upon its grassroots for the development of the next generation of on and off stage talent".
"We welcome this latest round of support and the opportunities it will unlock for grassroots music venues, festivals and promoters", he continues. "No doubt, like the equivalent support for international touring, it will deliver back many times over, bolstering domestic touring, driving additional activity into local economies and delivering joy to millions".
The Night Time Industries Association has also welcomed the new scheme, in particular noting that "in a departure from convention, the fund explicitly embraces participation from the electronic music and club scene, acknowledging their crucial contributions to the cultural and artistic tapestry. This forward-thinking approach ensures that the fund remains relevant to the evolving landscape of music creation and performance".
Its CEO Michael Kill adds: "By giving due consideration to rehearsal spaces and recording studios - integral components of the grassroots ecosystem - the fund recognises the interconnected web of elements that sustain and nurture the grassroots music community".