Jun 11, 2024 2 min read

Music Venue Trust seeks to gain political momentum with Manifesto For Grassroots Music

The Music Venue Trust is sending a manifesto to everyone standing in the UK General Election. The trade group is keen to maintain momentum following the election on things like introducing a ticket levy on large-scale shows to support the grassroots community, which was backed by MPs last month

Music Venue Trust seeks to gain political momentum with Manifesto For Grassroots Music

The UK’s Music Venue Trust has published a ‘A Manifesto For Grassroots Music’. It is seeking to ensure that the recent momentum the organisation has achieved within the political community is maintained after next month’s General Election. That includes the recent recommendations made by Parliament’s Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee.

MVT External Affairs Manager Sophie Brownlee explains that the manifesto will be sent to every prospective MP, “with the request that they come out in support of it as part of their campaign to be elected. Music communities across the country will also be asking the candidates where they stand on the future of live music in our towns and cities”.

The challenges faced by artists, promoters and venues operating at the grassroots of live music were put into the spotlight earlier this year by an inquiry staged by the CMS Select Committee. MPs heard that, while the upper end of live music has bounced back since the COVID shutdowns, the grassroots sector is in crisis. 

A subsequent report from the committee in May backed many of the recommendations made by the grassroots music community to help overcome those challenges. That included the proposal, led by MVT, that a levy be applied to tickets for large-scale shows to generate funds that would then be distributed to artists, promoters and venues working at the grassroots. 

MPs said the industry should seek to get a levy scheme of that kind in place by September and, if it failed to do so, that “the government should introduce a statutory levy at the earliest subsequent opportunity”. 

A week after the report was published, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called a General Election and Parliament was subsequently dissolved. In an open letter, Chair of the CMS Committee, Caroline Dinenage, urged future MPs and the next government to continue to work on changes proposed by her committee in the last Parliament. And that includes the proposals for grassroots live music. 

MVT’s manifesto sets out its five key priorities for how MPs in the next Parliament can maintain recent momentum and address many of the issues. The levy system is priority number one. Another common request from the live sector, a cut on VAT on tickets, is also included, as is another initiative proposed by MPs, a “fan-led review” of the live music ecosystem.

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