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MVT welcomes £5m investment in grassroots scene

The additional government funding will be made available over two years through the Supporting Grassroots Live Music Fund

By James Hanley on 14 Jun 2023

Mark Davyd


The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has welcomed a new £5 million investment in grassroots music venues from the UK government.

Announced by culture secretary Lucy Frazer, the additional funding will be made available over two years through the Supporting Grassroots Live Music Fund administered by Arts Council England.

“There is a well-documented and evidenced crisis at grassroots level,” says Rebecca Walker, the MVT’s live projects coordinator. “We have new and emerging artists who want to tour, venues who are desperate to host them, audiences that
want to see them, but the financial obstacles have simply become too great.

“With this additional £5 million we are going to be able to work with the sector to get artists back out across the country, producing thousands of shows that simply wouldn’t be able to take place without this funding.”

“This additional £5 million is a fantastic response from the government, recognising that we have a crisis at grassroots level”

The MVT recently announced a groundbreaking partnership with Enter Shikari, which will see £1 from every ticket sold for their arena tour in 2023 go into the organisation’s Pipeline Investment Fund, and MVT CEO Mark Davyd stresses it is continuing to press arenas and stadiums to play their part in addressing the need for financial support for the sector.

“This additional £5 million is a fantastic response from the government, recognising that we have a crisis at grassroots level which threatens the talent pipeline and the future prosperity of the entire live music industry,” says Davyd. “It’s now time for that industry to step up, take responsibility, and match this government action with its own positive response.

“At the top level, we are enjoying the greatest ever summer of live music in the UK. We need to ensure that grassroots music venues share in that financial success, and that can be achieved simply and effectively through a contribution from every ticket sold at every arena and stadium event.”

The number of shows taking place at grassroots level fell by 16.9% in 2022, representing a significant threat to the talent pipeline, compounded by rising costs including energy bills, rent and staffing, and the lack of funding to meet the increasing financial demands of touring.

“The UK’s live music sector is the envy of our friends across the globe”

The government’s Creative Industries Sector Vision, launched today, aims to grow the creative industries by an extra £50 billion while creating one million extra jobs by 2030. It describes the grassroots sector as “the lifeblood of our world-leading music sector and cornerstones of communities”.

Funding for the Music Export Growth Scheme (MEGS) has also been expanded by a further £3.2 million over the next two years. The initiative, which is joint-funded by industry and government, is managed by the BPI and aims to boost UK music exports by making grants available to small-and medium-sized independent music companies to support artists’ careers in overseas markets.

Since its launch in 2014, MEGS has helped more than 300 UK artists, including Beabadoobee, Bicep, Dave, Rina Sawayama, Wolf Alice, Young Fathers, and many more across a broad range of backgrounds and genres. It has generated a return on investment of more than £13 for every £1 invested.

“The UK’s live music sector is the envy of our friends across the globe,” says Jon Collins, CEO of trade body LIVE. “However, in the face of increased energy costs, supply chain challenges, and difficulties faced by touring artists, performers and their crew, the true potential of the sector is currently being limited. The extra funding announced today to support music exports and grassroots music venues is welcome and will go some way towards helping the live music sector to bounce back to full strength.”

 


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