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£1.5m funding breakthrough for grassroots music venues

MVT announces £1.5m Arts Council funding strand dedicated to supporting grassroots venues, among other industry initiatives, in “a huge day for grassroots music"

By Anna Grace on 10 May 2019

MVT grassroots funding

image © Jannica Honey

Music Venue Trust (MVT), the UK charity that protects and improves grassroots music venues, has announced a new £1.5 million Arts Council England fund dedicated to grassroots live music, alongside several other industry-led initiatives.

The Supporting Grassroots Live Music funding strand was announced at an event co-hosted today (10 May) by Arts Council England and Ticketmaster at the Great Escape in Brighton. The ring-fenced fund is part of the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants, and lines up alongside other input from Live Nation, Ticketmaster and the O2 Arena to further fund the charity’s Pipeline Investment Fund, which tackles the root causes leading to music venue closures.

“Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them,” says Arts Council England chief executive, Darren Henley.

“With this fund we’re ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters working in genres such as rock, pop and hip-hop have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences.”

“Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country”

MVT and Arts Council England will work together to assist venues in accessing the funding, ensuring that tangible improvements are made to the sound, lighting and facilities for both artists and audiences.

“This is obviously a huge day for grassroots music venues. The real support they need and have been crying out for has arrived,” says MVT chief executive Mark Davyd. “We want to ensure that venues across the UK are able to access the support they need to become real centres of excellence.

“Britain’s artists and audiences deserve a world class, industry leading, grassroots touring circuit. Delivering that circuit is the responsibility of everyone in the music industry, cultural sector, and government. We believe everyone has a stake in getting this right,” adds Davyd.

“When our grassroots music venues thrive, the whole industry benefits.”

Alongside the major funding announcement, MVT today announced other breakthrough steps in funding from the live music industry that directly supports grassroots music venues.

Representatives within the industry have been meeting with the trust since January to identify mechanisms for reinvestment in the grassroots veneus.

Live Nation will assign its contribution to the Apprenticeship Levy funds to MVT in order to support apprentices in grassroots music venues, while AEG will introduce guest list donations at major events and venues that will fund the scheme.

In addition, Ticketmaster will offer ticket buyers the option to donate to MVT while purchasing music tickets across its UK platform. Direct donations from major companies will also help to support the MVT Emergency Response service, which helps venues with noise complaints, licensing and planning issues.

Ticketmaster UK managing director Andrew Parsons states that the donation option will give  “unparalleled visibility to MVT and the significant work they do to keep grassroots venues alive and well for us all.”

“When our grassroots music venues thrive, the whole industry benefits”

“All of today’s announcements are a huge step forward for grassroots venues – venues that are the beating heart of the music industry, without them British talent doesn’t have a place to grow into the next Lewis Capaldi or Mabel,” comments Parsons.

“Today is a good day for British music,” says Live Nation executive president of touring, international, Phil Bowdery. “Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s support and funding, taken together with the new Arts Council England fund, is a massive boost to those venues and the musicians who play in them.”

For AEG Europe’s vice president of programming, Emma Bownes, today’s announcement is “an important step in protecting small music venues and supporting the emerging talent that use these spaces to hone their craft.”

Discussions with the Pipeline Investment Fund stakeholders, governments and funding bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue across the next few months to deliver more options for the music industry to support grassroots music venues through the Pipeline Investment Fund programme.


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