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Music Venue Trust confirms Twickets partnership

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) has confirmed a partnership with capped ticket resale marketplace Twickets.

Established in 2011, Twickets works with more than 300 live entertainment partners in the UK including venues, artists, promoters, festivals and ticketing companies.

“We are delighted to become a partner of MVT,” says Twickets founder Richard Davies. “This is a key development for us as it further embeds the business as the legitimate face of resale, working to bring fairness and transparency to event-goers everywhere.

“Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience”

“Our goal is always to improve the ticket buying experience, and we look forward to collaborating with all members of MVT to prevent blatant profiteering in the secondary ticket market, which not only harms fans but damages the industry as a whole.”

A charitable organisation, the MVT was founded in January 2014 to help protect, secure and improve music venues in the UK.

Mark Davyd, MVT founder and CEO, adds: “We are really pleased to welcome Twickets as one of MVT’s partners. Their mission to enable fans to resell tickets they can no longer use for the price they paid or less aligns well with MVT’s goals to keep tickets out of the hands of touts and in the hands of genuine grassroots gig going fans. Customers can buy from Twickets with the reassurance that they are supporting grassroots music venues across the UK.”


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MVT’s Revive Live showcase heads to ILMC

The Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live initiative, which played a significant role in restarting the UK’s grassroots sector, is coming to ILMC 34.

The scheme, which spotlights the best emerging talent as well as bringing household names to small venues, was launched in July 2021 with support from the UK National Lottery, which contributed £1 million to directly underwrite the touring and production costs of hundreds of live performances.

ILMC returns in-person to London’s Royal Garden Hotel from April 26-29. Revive Live will make its ILMC debut with a showcase at Notting Hill Arts Club – a 10-minute walk from the Royal Garden Hotel – from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesday 27 April (doors at 18:30), enabling delegates to make it back for MVT’s Pop Quiz, which begins at 9.30pm. The Revive Live line-up features Heartworms (7.10pm), LibraLibra (7.50pm) and LIFE (8.30pm).

In addition, ILMC will also present its annual Access All Areas programme, which allows access to registered delegates to catch some of London’s hottest shows using just their conference pass. The series of shows are available courtesy of Kilimanjaro Live, AEG Presents, MVT, Paradigm & Pitch & Smith.

Access All Areas kicks off on Tuesday 26 April with shows by George O’Hanlon (Camden Assembly, 7pm), Holy Fuck (Village Underground, 9pm), Salem (Camden Underworld, 9pm) and Luca Wilding (Omeara, 9pm).

It continues on Wednesday 27 April with Chuck Ragan (Islington Assembly Hall), Baby Queen (Electric Ballroom), Highasakite (Academy Islington), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Tamera (Colours Hoxton), Midlight (Signature Brew Haggerston), The Oxley-Meier Guitar Project (606 Club), José González (Roundhouse) and Diskopunk (Queen of Hoxton).

Elsewhere, Thursday 28 April will feature Xentrix (The Underworld), Wilko Johnson (Islington Assembly Hall), Stone Broken + Mason Hill + The Fallen State (Electric Ballroom), What The France X Kili presents: Terrenoire + November Ultra + Eugenie (Courtyard Theatre), Honne (O2 Academy Brixton), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Noah Slee (Colours Hoxton,), Morganway (The Half Moon Putney), Neil Angilley (606 Club), Kitty Fitz + Vogues + Pink Shabab (Cavendish Arms), Piri & Tommy (XOYO) and Bad Boy Chiller Crew (O2 Forum Kentish Town).

The series will then culminate on Friday 29 April with Desertfest (Electric Ballroom), Melodaze (Folklore), Pomme (Omeara), My Dad Wrote a Porno (London Palladium), Pynch (Colours Hoxton), Mariachi Las Adelitas UK (Rich Mix), Andy Fairweather Low & The Low Riders (The Half Moon Putney), Samara (606 Club), Jessica’s Brother + Tummyache + Symbol Soup (Cavendish Arms), Mae Muller (O2 Forum Kentish Town) and Naked Lunch with Simone Marie Butler (DJ) + Japanese Television (DJ) + Lonelady (DJ) from 10pm.

Full information about this year’s gathering of the international live music is online at 34.ilmc.com, including details of how to register.


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UK live sector frustrated by mini-budget

The UK’s live music industry has reacted with disappointment to chancellor Rishi Sunak’s spring statement, which was delivered today in the House of Commons.

Calls to extend the VAT break on live event tickets sales past the end of this month again went unheeded, with the temporary 12.5% rate now set to revert to 20% from 1 April. There were also no improvements announced to the government’s £800m insurance scheme for live events

Trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) has appealed for the government to work with the industry to consider a cultural VAT rate of 5% on ticket sales.

“Live music is facing new and unprecedented challenges that threaten to wreck one of the UK’s cultural crown jewels – a 7.5% increase in VAT on tickets, wholesale cost increases and major ticket cancellations due to spiking covid cases,” says a spokesperson for the organisation. “At the same time, the last remaining help from government is being withdrawn.”

However, better news for the sector arrived in the form of the previously announced 50% discount on business rates, which was confirmed by the chancellor.

“While we welcome the business rates discount, we need further measures that can provide a cash injection to all areas of the sector, such as action on VAT,” adds the LIVE spokesperson. “We are calling on the chancellor to look again at these measures, which would help secure the sector’s recovery and allow our £4.5 billion industry to continue boosting the UK economy.”

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO Paul Reed suggests the mini-budget has done little or nothing to assist the recovery of the festival circuit.

“We are disappointed that the chancellor has not responded to our repeated calls to grant an extension to the 12.5% VAT rate on festival tickets beyond the end of March”

“We are disappointed that the chancellor has not responded to our repeated calls to grant an extension to the 12.5% VAT rate on festival tickets beyond the end of March,” he says. “Festival organisers are experiencing cost increases of between 20-30%, which is way beyond rapidly rising inflation, with extreme pressure along the entire supply chain. We urge the government to look at this again and maintain the reduced rate on VAT.

“We also ask the government to urgently reconsider the removal of tax incentives to use certain biofuels. These should be maintained at the current rate as a transitional measure to encourage use of greener fuels at festivals. To do otherwise is completely contrary to the government’s objectives of incentivising energy efficiency and reducing emissions.”

Despite giving the thumbs-up to the business rates discount for grassroots music venues, Music Venue Trust chief Mark Davyd is keen to highlight other concerns.

“With no action for businesses on energy bills, or NI liability, and the missed opportunity of action on VAT that would support the sector to recover from the Covid crisis, the outcome of the budget is that none of the extraordinary financial pressures being placed on venues have been mitigated or alleviated,” he says. “This budget has failed to respond to inflationary increases from rent, supplies, and services running in excess of 20% across the sector.

“We note that the government has recommitted itself to supporting business investment, especially research and development. We again ask that the secretary of state for culture should enter into meaningful discussions with the live music industry to create R&D tax incentives and direct financial support to achieve that outcome.”

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), meanwhile, went further still in its criticism, declaring itself “extremely disappointed”, warning the sector faces a “perfect storm” of challenges over the next 12 months, particularly in light of the cost of living crisis.

“We called on the chancellor before the spring statement to produce a package that included an extension of VAT and business rates reliefs, a cancellation of the proposed NI hike, and action on businesses energy bills and fuel duty, to allow the sector financial headroom to survive in something resembling its pre-pandemic form,” says NTIA chief Michael Kill. “It is very disappointing that today he took none of these steps.”


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Music Venue Trust names new co-chairs

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) has made a number of changes to its board of trustees.

Ingrooves’ Bonita McKinney and Heliocentric Entertainment’s Phyllis Belezos have been named co-chairs, succeeding Sarah Thirtle in the role.

Both are trustees of the charitable organisation and played an important role in its work throughout the pandemic, including when assessing the financial support that MVT was able to give to individual venues via its successful #SaveOurVenues campaign.

“I have been a proud member of the MVT board and am excited to become co-chair,” says Belezos. “Music Venue Trust and the team’s work has helped venues survive not only during these last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, but by supporting them in every way.

“My goal is to continue the building process so that venues not just survive but thrive. I also want to help instigate new ideas and structure to a part of the live industry that is fundamental to the artists and everyone involved in our beloved grassroots music venue community.”

McKinney adds: “I’ve seen the team work tirelessly over the pandemic and I want to help them and the music venues we represent as much as possible. I’m excited to lead the board into the next chapter for MVT as we face the post-pandemic music landscape and get back to our core goals and mission.”

“We welcome interest from anyone with relevant skills who is keen to volunteer their time and passion for grassroots music venues”

Scott Taylforth, Ticketmaster’s finance manager, UK client settlements, has also joined the MVT board as treasurer.

“Live music has played a major part in influencing my life for as long as I can remember,” he says. “Grassroots music venues are where it all begins, they’re the breeding ground of an industry that is worth a staggering £5.8 billion to the UK economy. Without them, many opportunities would be lost for future generations and the creative industries as we know them would cease to exist.

“I am absolutely honoured to be working with the MVT and look forward to working with the team and drawing on my music industry finance experience to help grow this amazing organisation.”

Meanwhile, Bengi Unsal, ex-head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre, is stepping down from the MVT board after four years but will serve as an MVT industry patron, as well as becoming director of the Institute of Contemporary Art.

“We are excited to welcome Phyllis, Bonita and Scott into these roles,” says MVT strategic director Beverley Whitrick. “Their experience, expertise and insight will be invaluable to our team as we navigate the next phase of MVT and put in place the strategies needed to continue protecting the grassroots music venue community.

“We would also like to thank Bengi and all of our continuing trustees for their incredible contribution to Music Venue Trust. The charity will continue to develop its board and we welcome expressions of interest from anyone with relevant skills who is keen to volunteer their time and passion for grassroots music venues.”


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Euro execs map out live’s road to recovery

A trio of European live music figures have given their thoughts on rising ticket prices, customer demand and the grassroots circuit as they gear up for the 2022 season.

Speaking in the latest issue of IQ, CTS Eventim COO Alexander Ruoff, Superbloom MD Fruzsina Szep and Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT), mapped out the forthcoming year for the live business.

Ruoff discussed the long-term ramifications of Covid for the touring business, warning that Covid risk mitigation and rising supply chain costs were likely to have knock-on effects for consumers.

“If costs remain persistently high due to increased requirements for access and hygiene measures, and for suppliers, this will also have an impact on ticket prices in the longer term,” he said, adding that the crisis could lead to further consolidation within the marketplace.

Munich-based CTS posted “encouraging” financial results for Q3 2021, powered by strong ticket sales by major international artists including Ed Sheeran, Genesis and Coldplay, as well as German rock act Udo Lindenberg.

However, Ruoff stopped short of forecasting a swift return to 2019 levels of business.

“We had thought that this would be the case in 2021, but the virus has taught us that it is unpredictable,” he cautioned. “We are confident for the summer. How the rest of the year will develop is not predictable from today’s perspective.”

“We have to gain back the trust of our fans and the sponsors”

Fruzsina, whose previous roles include festival director for Lollapalooza Berlin and programme director of Sziget Festival in Budapest, spoke of the immediate challenges facing the festival industry.

“We have to gain back the trust of our fans and the sponsors,” she said. “We have to come back in full capacity, and the main restrictions have to disappear in the longer term in order to promote again in a normal and trustful way. The audience is much more careful [about] where they go, what they buy, when, and for which event.”

Goodlive’s Superbloom is set for Olympic Park in Munich from 3-4 September, with artists such as Stromae, David Guetta, Anne-Marie and Glass Animals.

“I feel confident in the festival summer 2022, and I know that many of my dear brothers and sisters in the festival family feel the same,” added Fruzsina.

Whitrick, meanwhile, talked through the MVT’s developing relationships with associations across the world. The organisation unveiled Venues Day International – the first global event aimed exclusively at grassroots music venue operators and owners – last year in partnership with Live DMA (Europe), Music Policy Forum (North America), Canadian Live Music Association, Live Music Office Australia and NIVA (US).

“We hope to hold an online International Venues Day in 2022 to develop the network further, with the eventual aspiration of holding an in-person international version of our established national networking event,” she said.

“Our sector is made up of dedicated, resilient people who will do everything they can to persevere. Things are tough, but over 900 venues are still here, and we will continue to work collectively to support each other and tackle long and short-term challenges. If we can fix some of the things that make the finances so precarious – business rates, VAT on tickets, ownership of the buildings – then our venues can get on with presenting amazing shows, connecting audiences with new artists, and providing vital spaces for the development of new music.”


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Friday round-up: World news in brief 24/12/21

Welcome to IQ‘s weekly round-up of news from around the world. Here, in bite-sized chunks, we present a selection of international stories you may have missed from the last few days…


The UK government has doubled the emergency funding for arts, culture and heritage organisations made available through the Culture Recovery Fund to £60 million. The initial £30m top-up, unveiled earlier this week by chancellor Rishi Sunak as part of a £1 billion support package for hospitality and leisure businesses in response to the impact of the omicron variant, was criticised as “woefully inadequate” by live music trade bodies. The government is also extending the application window by a week until 18 January. “This new funding, alongside the new grants of up to £6,000 we announced earlier this week, will support the sector as we together face this difficult time,” says Sunak. The Music Venue Trust described the development as “very positive news”. “This second measure makes a real difference, providing grassroots music venues with time to submit,” it tweeted.


European Commission EVP Frans Timmermans will give the opening keynote speech at ESNS 2022. Timmermans, who is responsible for the Green Deal, will dive deeper into taking green steps going forward for the music industry. Other newly announced speakers include Mark Mulligan (MIDiA Research), Colin Benders (Kyteman), Pepijn Lanen (Faberyayo of De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig) Helen Smith (IMPALA), Marta Pallares (Primavera), Codruta Vulcu (ARTmania), Paul Reed (AIF), Christof Huber (Yourope) and Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio). The event has moved entirely online from 19–22 January 2022 due to Covid-19. Due to the continued uncertainty, some of the panels and keynotes have been moved to ESNS 2023, including interviews with Sub Pop’s Pavitt & Poneman, Peter Weening (Vera), Matt Schwarz (DreamHaus) and André de Raaff, as well as the country focus on Spain.


ASM Global has appointed Nate Whitman as chief strategy officer. In his new role, Whitman will be tasked with developing new business opportunities, investments and strategic partnerships, as well as new initiatives to deliver revenue growth for the company’s clients. Whitman most recently served as head of strategy and finance for Pac-12’s media division.


Paloma Faith will headline the Glastonbury Abbey Extravaganza concert on Saturday, 6 August, 2022. Also performing will be the Black Dyke Brass Band, with a further special guest still to be announced.


Madison Square Garden Entertainment MSG Entertainment has named seasoned executive David F Byrnes as EVP and CFO, effective January 24. Byrnes will work closely with MSG Entertainment’s executive management team to support the long-term direction of the company. He will provide strategic financial insight on all facets of the business and oversee the firm’s financial matters. MSG Entertainment’s current EVP and CFO, Mark H FitzPatrick, will remain with the company through April 1 to assist with the transition.

The Lunar Electric music festival, due to be held in Newcastle on 18 December, was cancelled under a public health order. NSW Health said the record number of Covid-19 cases in the region presented too great a risk for the festival to take place.


House of Vans Mexico City officially opened its doors with performances by Japanese Breakfast, Noa Sainz and Girl Ultra. Molotov and Hot Chip also played headline shows during its opening weekend. Located in Col. San Juan, House of Vans Mexico City is billed as “part skatepark, part music venue, part theatre, part art gallery”, and adds to the brand’s existing hubs in London, UK and Chicago in the US.


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Latest UK support measures branded ‘inadequate’

New financial support announced for businesses by the UK government in response to the spread of the omicron variant has been criticised as inadequate by live music trade bodies.

The additional measures – including a £30 million top-up to the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) – were unveiled by chancellor Rishi Sunak today (21 December) as part of a £1 billion support package for hospitality and leisure. Grants of up to £6,000 are available per premise.

The news comes as new restrictions have been announced in Scotland, with more looking likely in Wales. However, music organisations say the extra funding, which adds to the £1.87bn previously made available through the CRF, falls short of requirements.

“We welcome the news that the government has started to deliver much-needed financial support, but with the live music sector teetering on the brink, the package falls short of the urgent cash injection businesses need to keep them afloat,” says a statement from LIVE.

“The amount of money pales in comparison to the mounting losses faced by the sector and the process will add layers of complexity at a time when businesses are already struggling with skeleton staff rotas and huge losses. We have been down this path earlier in the pandemic, with extensive form filling and application processes, by which point it will likely be too late.

“What we really need is an urgent boost that can help today by leaving money in businesses, such as an emergency reduction in VAT and deferral of loan repayments.”

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd says the amount of funding made available for live music organisations appeared “detached from the reality”.

Business has not just fallen, it has completely collapsed

“Regrettably, today’s announcement appears to be a woefully inadequate response to the reality of the position,” he says.  “Through a local authority distribution process, the treasury appears to be offering grassroots music venues up to £6,000, if they meet certain criteria. This sum is intended to mitigate losses for an as yet unknown period in which business has not just fallen, it has completely collapsed.

“The minimum length of that period, regardless of any restrictions or limitations to business yet to be announced, is six weeks – you can’t simply turn the live music industry on and off like a desk lamp, and tours and events are already cancelled. Not just today, or tomorrow, but for the next three months.

“Additionally, the Treasury has announced £30 million will be added to the Cultural Recovery Fund. Our initial response is that this funding seems bizarrely detached from reality. It is certainly completely inadequate to deal with the scale of the problem.”

The organisation reported last week that small venues had been hit by a catastrophic drop in attendance, advance ticket sales and spend per head since the government’s announcement of Plan B measures earlier this month.

Davyd points out that, despite being “singled out” for restrictions since the onset of the Covid crisis, grassroots music venues were not even mentioned in the statement, which instead focused on “theatres, orchestras and museums’, which will be supported “through until March 2022”.

Losses in the grassroots music venue sector alone will run to £22 million by the end of January

“This is despite DCMS having all the evidence they need that losses in the grassroots music venue sector alone will run to £22 million by the end of January, let alone the end of March 2022,” adds Davyd.

“The damage is already done and there is no point pretending otherwise. At least £22 million in losses by the end of next month will hit already beleaguered and exhausted grassroots music venue operators. This level of new debt fundamentally undermines the entire ecosystem that is the bedrock of a £5 billion world leading music industry.”

He continues: “We are constantly being told that the Culture Recovery Fund will save the day. For this to be true, it needs to be adequately funded to match the challenges the government is trying to deal with. Today’s statement by the treasury is not the answer that is needed.

“The secretary of state for culture must meet with the sector, properly understand the scale of the damage being inflicted, and return to the treasury with a financial ask that reflects what is required.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, is similarly scathing in his response.

“Businesses are failing, people are losing their livelihoods and the industry is crippled,” he says. “Every pound of help is much needed. But this package is far too little and borders on the insulting.”

This lockdown of stealth is putting their already fragile businesses in real jeopardy

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of the Music Managers Forum, and David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition, stress that artists and industry professionals had been overlooked in the latest package.

“Artists currently find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place – encouraged by the government to carry on performing, while their audiences are advised to stay at home,” they said in a statement. “With months of uncertainty ahead, this lockdown by stealth is putting their already fragile businesses in real jeopardy. All compounded by the lack of a safety net and insurance schemes that the industry has universally derided as unfit for purpose.

“While the package announced today may help some venues and institutions, it is essential this is also made available to those appearing on the stage or working behind it. Without that concrete support, such as compensation for Covid-related cancellations and viable insurance solutions, we risk artists and tens of thousands of support workers becoming collateral damage to what feels like an unfurling catastrophe.”

Meanwhile, in Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced new restrictions from 26 December, including the cancellation of large-scale events such as Hogmanay celebrations.

Indoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people standing and 200 seated, while outdoor events will be restricted to 500-capacity, with 1m physical distancing at all events.

Sturgeon also announced that support for businesses affected by Covid-19 will be increased by a further £275 million.

Yesterday, Wales also announced that spectators would be banned from all indoor, outdoor, professional and community sports events in the country from Boxing Day. There has not yet been any announcement about the closure of indoor or outdoor music venues, although economy minister Vaughan Gething said new restrictions will need to be introduced.


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UK faces “devastating loss” over cancellations, no-shows

The UK live industry is contending with up to 50% audience no shows and widespread cancellations due to Omicron, a snap industry survey has shown.

The survey, conducted by LIVE, found that 70% of organisers were forced to cancel shows due to take place last week. Jessie Ware, Steps, Paul Weller, Coldplay and Lil Nas X are among the artists forced to cancel due to the virus.

Among the major artists that have this week cancelled remaining shows for 2021 are also The Charlatans (five dates), Supergrass (three), Stereophonics (two), Deacon Blue (two), Del Amitri (three), The Libertines (two) and Amy Macdonald (one).

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February– some as many as 10 each – and more expected to follow, according to LIVE’s survey.

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February

MØ and Brockhampton are among the artists that have already cancelled or postponed UK/EU tours scheduled for 2022 as a result of concerns around Omicron.

The trade association says that the widespread cancellations, alongside a high rate of audience dropouts, are leading to a “devastating” rise in lost income for the live music industry.

These losses are compounded by drastic falls in tickets sales, with expected ticket sales for 2022 live music falling by over a third in the last few weeks, the association adds.

Lucy Noble, National Arenas Association chair and artistic director at Royal Albert Hall, says ticket sales for the London venue have “fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”.

“Ticket sales have fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”

“We have already had a £20m loan from the government but we don’t want to accumulate any more debt,” she tells IQ.

Mark Davyd, CEO of The Music Venue Trust, warns that the position of the industry is taking “a dramatic turn for the worst”.

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months,” he tells IQ. “We are currently organising the sector to make applications for all available funding, but more than 50% of grassroots music venues across the UK do not meet the criteria to qualify for the funding currently available.

“The government needs to act on VAT, business rates, retail, hospitality & leisure grants and additional restrictions grants without delay. None of this is new; the government did an excellent job of preventing music venue closures in the last 23 months. We simply need that support reopened to deal with the latest phase of the pandemic.”

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months”

Commenting on the snap survey, a spokesperson from LIVE said: “These statistics paint a bleak picture for the sector which is why it’s absolutely vital that the government provides additional support immediately. We need urgent assistance to avoid the live music industry running into the ground, forcing venues to shut up shop and a Christmas of Misery with job losses, and freelancers and artists without work.

“We also face a double-whammy as next year’s sales take a nosedive, meaning organisers do not have the cash needed to cover soaring costs as they struggle to stay afloat while operating at a loss.”

LIVE, on behalf of more than 3,100 businesses in the sector, is now calling for urgent financial support from government, including:


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UK grassroots sector facing fresh Covid crisis

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has warned the UK’s grassroots circuit is on the brink of collapse in the wake of fresh government restrictions.

The organisation reports that small venues have been hit by a catastrophic drop in attendance, advance ticket sales and spend per head since last Wednesday’s announcement of Plan B measures to tackle the spread of the Omicron variant, placing the entire sector back on red alert for the risk of permanent closures.

As a result, the MVT is calling on culture secretary Nadine Dorries to create a ring-fenced stabilisation fund to protect the sector, stressing that significant funding from the £1.7 billion Culture Recovery Fund remains unspent and unallocated.

“This is the busiest time of the year for grassroots music venues, representing more than 20% of their annual income being raised during the party season,” says MVT strategic director Beverley Whitrick.

“Rapid declines in attendance at this time of year represent an exponential threat to the whole sector, and losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained without throwing hundreds of music venues into crisis mode and at risk of permanent closure. A ‘no show’ isn’t just lost ticket income, it’s lost bar take and excess staff costs.”

It feels like we are back exactly where we were in March 2020

The MVT says losses over the last week were close to £2 million, with 86% of venues reporting negative impacts and 61% having to cancel at least one event. The biggest causes of cancellations were a performer/member of the touring party testing positive for Covid (35.6%), private hire bookings cancelled by the organiser (31.3%) and poor sales performance (23.6%).

MVT CEO Mark Davyd likens the predicament to the early days of the pandemic.

“It feels like we are back exactly where we were in March 2020, when confusing government messaging created a ‘stealth lockdown’ – venues apparently able to open but in reality haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it,” he says.

“We have been here before. This time the government already has all the tools in place that it needs to manage this impact and prevent permanent closures in the grassroots music venue sector. The Culture Recovery Fund can be swiftly adapted to mitigate this economic impact, the money is already there and waiting, we just need the secretary of state to act quickly.

“The government previously used business rate suspension and VAT cuts to support and sustain the sector. We don’t need to spend time considering the situation; the government already knows what can be done and can choose very quickly to do it.”

MPs yesterday voted to back the government’s “Plan B” measures to tackle Omicron by introducing vaccine certificates or negative lateral flow tests to enter venues. The move was criticised by Night-Time Industries Association (NTIA) chief Michael Kill.

“We are disappointed that MPs have voted into law covid passports for nightclubs,” he says. “The NTIA have consistently opposed their introduction due to the many logistical challenges they pose for night time economy businesses and what we have seen in Scotland and Wales where they have dampened trade by 30% and 26% respectively.

“It is very disappointing that, after flip flopping on the issue twice, the government have decided to press ahead with the plans despite no evidence of their impact on transmission of the virus.”

IQ has compiled the latest live music restrictions affecting key international touring markets in Europe here, and the rest of the world here.


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Campaign to save Night & Day Cafe ramps up

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has revealed noise complaints have been made against more than 40 venues since lockdown lifted in July, as a campaign to protect Manchester’s Night & Day Cafe reaches 50,000 signatures.

The 220-cap venue, which celebrates its 30th birthday this Saturday, was served with a noise abatement notice on 18 November by Manchester City Council (MCC) licensing after being reported by a nearby resident.

A petition launched in support of Night & Day says the council is now threatening to close the venue, alleging it is a “noise nuisance”.

“We have met the resident a number of times to explain what we do and that nothing has changed operationally to how we operated pre-lockdown and the 28 years prior to that,” says the petition. “We ask for Manchester City Council licensing to remove our noise abatement notice and for the council to address the real issue here which is that housing with ill-considered planning and construction has been approved and built next to a pre-existing live music business.

“Over the past 15 years, flats have been built or existing buildings converted to flats around us with no real thought or consideration to the pre-existing business, building and what it does.

“We also ask not to be labelled us as a ‘nuisance’. We believe we are a real cultural asset to the city of Manchester, the North West and indirectly to the UK as a whole.”

It’s time the complaints process was changed

MVT CEO Mark Davyd told NME there had been over 40 noise complaints against UK grassroots music venues since the sector reopened en masse in July.

“With the exception of one case, all relate to complaints that the venue had resumed its normal operation; no new hours, no change of music, no increase in volume,” said Davyd.

“This is one of a raft of absurd new complaints lodged by people who apparently think it’s OK to move near to venues during a pandemic and complain when they reopen. Every noise complaint costs the venue money to defend and defeat.

“It’s time the complaints process was changed so that obviously ludicrous complaints such as this, against a venue celebrating 30 years of business, can be immediately dismissed or the venue financially recompensed for being forced to prove that the cause of the ‘nuisance’ is the new resident’s decision to move next to it.”

Sacha Lord, night-time economy advisor for Greater Manchester and co-founder of Manchester’s Parklife festival and The Warehouse Project, said he would do everything within the powers to save the Night & Day, which previously won a similar battle in 2014.

“If you choose to live next to a live music venue, don’t then complain about noise,” Lord said on Twitter. “Night & Day Cafe is a true iconic gem. I am in touch with them and will do everything I can to work with all parties, to save this venue.”


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