The Music Venue Trust is calling on volunteers to collect information about local grassroots music venues as part of the trust’s annual survey
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
‘How to Open a Grassroots Music Venue’ and ‘How to Run a Grassroots Music Venue’ aim to offer assistance to prospective and existing venue managers
By IQ on 16 Jul 2019
At an event at City Hall in London last night (15 July), Music Venue Trust (MVT) launched two new books which offer practical advice to the grassroots venues sector.
The illustrated, open-source books, commissioned by MVT and produced by writer David Pollock and photographer Jannica Honey, aim to draw on the association’s work over the past five years to offer assistance to those wishing to open a new venue (How to Open a Grassroots Music Venue) and those already running one (How to Run a Grassroots Music Venue).
According to Mark Davyd, CEO of the UK charity – founded in 2014 to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues – each book contains 15 chapters of information covering topics including licensing, company structure, what facilities need to be provided, and ideas for diversifying what venues offer, as well as interviews with venue managers and case studies.
A guidance section at the back of the books is complemented by cross-referencing with online resources on the MVT website (musicvenuetrust.com/resources), which will be updated regularly.
“We want these books to inspire people to join us and open their own venues”
As well as a limited print run, both books are available as downloadable PDFs from both MVT’s and the Mayor of London’s websites.
“When I was 17, I put on my first gig, and over the next ten years I met lots of other like-minded people who wanted to do the same,” explains Davyd. “Eventually, after five years of trying, we got together and opened our own venue. Nobody ever gave us advice, and we must have made every mistake possible. Most people I know in the grassroots music sector have a similar story, which is why we wanted to publish these guides.
“We want these books to inspire people to join us and open their own venues, and the message is simple: you can build a stage the band doesn’t fall through, you can get a licence that doesn’t prevent you from opening on a Wednesday, and you can avoid having to rebuild the venue from scratch, only this time with enough doors.”
Andrew Parsons, managing director of Ticketmaster UK, says: “Developing the next generation of talent is hugely important to us; grassroots music venues are an essential part of an artist’s career and a vital cog in the music industry machine. We have worked with MVT since 2015 and know the struggles that these venues face. These guides are another important step to keep music playing in grassroots venues across the UK.”
Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds, an MVT patron (pictured speaking at the launch), adds: “Grassroots music venues are vital spaces for musicians, music fans and communities in general. It’s been a tough time for venues up and down the country over the past few years and there’s been no government support.
“It’s great that MVT has launched these new books, sharing the knowledge and experience of those who run the venues that are surviving and shining a spotlight on the touring circuit.
“I think it could help encourage the opening of new venues and support networks.”
Music Venue Trust says it’s looking into the possibility of further development of these guides. Anyone interested in being involved should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.