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Number of venues in London stable in 2016

The latest Rescue Plan report reveals there were as many openings as closures for the first time in nine years – but "there's still much to be done", says the mayor

By Jon Chapple on 23 Jan 2017

Mumford & Sons at Omeara, London

Mumford & Sons at Omeara in the South Bank, which opened last year

image © Omeara

The number of grassroots music venues in London stabilised last year for the first time since 2007, with as many openings as closures, reveals a new report from the mayor’s office.

The positive figures, released today – which follow an IQ report in June that revealed an unprecedented four brand-new venues would open in London in 2016 – have been hailed by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as a “major step towards rebuilding London’s live music scene”.

“London’s buzzing live music scene is world-renowned, having produced artists from Adele to Ed Sheeran, The Clash to The Rolling Stones,” he comments. “Grassroots venues are the foundation of our successful music industry. We’ve taken positive steps to address some of the challenges facing grassroots music venues, but there’s still much to be done.

That’s why I’ve recently appointed night czar Amy Lamé to act as a champion for live music venues and the night-time economy, and will ensure that the agent-of-change principle” – which makes it the responsibility of developers, not venues, to put in place noise-control measures on any new residential development, as enshrined in last April’s Town and Country Planning Order 2016 and one of Khan’s key manifesto pledges – “is implemented across the capital, delivering real change for Londoners.”

“We’ve taken positive steps to address some of the challenges facing grassroots music venues, but there’s still much to be done”

The report, Rescue Plan for London’s Grassroots Music Venues: Making progress, reveals London’s grassroots venues add £91.8 million to the UK capital’s economy and support 2,260 full-time jobs.

It also outlines the actions the London Music Board – comprising key UK industry figures, including Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith, ATC Live’s Alex Bruford and Auro Foxcroft, chief executive of famed venue Village Underground – is taking to stimulate the building of new venues, including offering guidance to developers on how to include venues in new developments.

“Since the original Rescue Plan for Grassroots Music Venues was published, we’ve made some great progress,” says Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust. “We’ve set up the London Music Board, welcomed our newly-appointed night czar to chair the board and taken steps to implement agent of change.

“I’m looking forward to working with the mayor’s team to continue to address the challenges that grassroots music venues are facing in London, and hopefully we’ll see a return to growth in the sector which will benefit not only Londoners and local communities, but the wider music industry.”


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