fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Music venues to benefit from London’s £6m campaign

London’s live music venues are set to benefit from a £6 million campaign to boost the capital’s culture, hospitality and retail economies, as the city reopens under the government’s roadmap.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, launched the campaign yesterday, hours after his re-election for a second term was confirmed.

The initiative, dubbed Let’s Do London, aims to harnesses the talents of major London arts and culture institutions with the mantra ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’.

Speaking to Time Out, Khan said: “Let’s Do London is the biggest tourism campaign our city has ever seen. The reason it’s so important is that the last 15 months have been incredibly tough for us. But I also recognise not just the intrinsic enjoyment we get from retail, culture and hospitality, but that one in five jobs in London are in those areas. We’ve got to make sure that we bounce back as quickly as possible to avoid mass unemployment, leading to a massive recession.

“Let’s Do London is about bringing all the key players in London together: the Globe, the National Theatre, the Southbank, the V&A, the O2, great chefs, great artists like David Hockney, great live music venues, pubs, bars and restaurants. We want to make sure that this summer is the best summer we’ve ever seen.”

“We’ve got to make sure that we bounce back as quickly as possible to avoid mass unemployment, leading to a recession”

Last year, international tourism to London fell by a reported 90% due to the coronavirus pandemic. Khan says he expects this year will be similar to the last and that it will be vital the capital attracts more visitors from around the UK.

As per the government’s roadmap, British music venues are permitted to reopen with social distancing measures and capacity limits from next week (17 May).

Indoor performances will be restricted to the lower of 1,000 people or 50% capacity, outdoor performances limited to the lower of either 4,000 people or 50% capacity, and seated outdoor performances, to either 10,000 people or 25% of capacity.

According to a recent survey from Music Venue Trust, it is estimated that there will be 91,500 individual live performances during the period, offering over 300,000 work opportunities for musicians as they finally get the chance to return to paid employment.

While UK music fans are eager to return to live music as quickly as possible, according to a survey of 25,000 commissioned by UK trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment).

 


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.

Mayor of London announces £2.3m emergency culture fund

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, today (30 April) launched a £2.3 million (€2.65m) emergency fund to support cultural and creative industries at risk due to the impact of the coronavirus.

Beneficiaries of the fund include Music Venue Trust, which receives a £450,000 donation towards its #saveourvenues campaign in aid of at-risk grassroots venues, and the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, which receives £225,000 – as well as £1.5m for Creative Land Trust to support artist workspaces and £150,000 to the British Film Institute (BFI) in aid of independent cinemas.

Grassroots venues have been particularly hard hit by the impact of Covid-19, and the funding for Music Venue Trust (MVT) will support up to 147 independent London venues – benefitting businesses most at risk of falling into administration and unable to benefit from government schemes – according to the mayor.

“The coronavirus outbreak is having a significant impact on every aspect of life in London, and that includes our culture, creative industries and night-time economy,” says Khan. “These industries are so important to the fabric of our city during the day and night, and they will play a key role in helping us to recover from this public health crisis.

“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue”

“I’m pleased to be working together with the Music Venue Trust, the LGBTQ+ Venues Forum, the Creative Land Trust and the BFI to offer this emergency funding to those areas most at need, but we need the government to step forward and provide the comprehensive support this industry needs to protect its future.”

MVT’s Beverley Whitrick adds: “Music Venue Trust works on behalf of grassroots music venues across the whole UK, but the greatest concentration of our members is in London. These venues are some of the most impacted by the current crisis because the costs of running a venue in London are so high.

“This funding from the mayor of London means that MVT will be able to increase the support on offer to each and every venue, dedicating invaluable human resources, specialist advice and financial assistance where other measures come up short – everything possible to sustain these venues so they can reopen in the future and host artists and audiences safely and professionally.”

 


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.

Hackney curfew: ‘marginalised communities will suffer most’

Campaigners protesting the controversial new Hackney curfew legislation have spoken about how the policy will potentially affect marginalised communities the most. Speaking at Friday’s protest (27 July), a number of protesters spoke to local media, saying LGBTQ, BME and women-friendly music venues are at the biggest risk of disappearance because of the new nightlife legislation.

Speaking to the Hackney Citizenprotest co-organiser Jo Alloway said: “Hackney is renowned for its diversity and its nightlife – it’s something people specifically come to Hackney for.

“Each venue is a hub of community, whether that’s LGBTQ nightlife, Caribbean nightlife – it’s a safe space where people can enjoy their own culture.”

As Johnny Dillon, another co-organiser of the protest, explains, the fear is that as ‘minority-friendly’ clubs and venues close, new ones won’t be able to open and replace them. Instead, corporate brands and chains will take their place, without thought for the cultural spaces being lost. Talking to NME, Dillon warned against places like Shoreditch turning into Leicester Square.

“We’re seeing pubs and clubs – for the LGBTQ community, and the BME community, and spaces for women – close all the time,” he says. “I think that is really being put at risk by the proposal that Hackney Council have just passed.”

“It’s the council and the licensing committee that have pushed this through.”

“Hackney is one of the few places where those still exist in number. If those spaces are to start to close, new ones aren’t going to open.”

After the news of the Hackney curfew broke, London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé came under fire for appearing not to fight against the plans. Many questioned what the role of Night Czar was for, if not to protest against potentially damaging legislation such as this.

In a statement released shortly after the initial backlash, before the protests took place, she explained her intention to get all parties involved around a table to talk out the problems with the new policies; she has demanded an urgent meeting with the mayor of Hackney, Philip Glanville. In the statement, she does not address how the policy may affect the lives of residents from minority backgrounds.

“I’m sure there is a positive way forward,” it reads. “My role is to help get everyone to sit around the table, talking together, to represent the needs of the night-time economy in those conversations, and ultimately to find a solution that works for everyone.

“I’ve used this convening power on a number of different issues…and it really can work.”

Whilst many protesters agree the Night Czar has dropped the ball somewhat in her response to the curfew legislation, Dillon maintains it isn’t solely her that should be held responsible for the decision.

“It’s the council and the licensing committee that have pushed this through.”

 


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.

Hackney Council votes to impose midnight curfew on new venues

The London Borough of Hackney’s council has this week unanimously approved controversial licensing policies that impose a weekend midnight curfew on new venues in the area. The decision goes against the council’s own poll of residents, in which some 73% voted against the measures.

New venues that wish to get around the curfew and prolong their hours will need to be able to prove to authorities that doing so will not provoke antisocial behaviour. Critics of the policy have already commented on the difficulty of this task.

Councillor Emma Plouviez, part of the team that drafted the policy, has defended the council’s actions to Resident Advisor. She says: “The onus will be on new applicants to demonstrate they are responsible, understand the pressures on the area and that their business will not have a negative impact on the area if they want to open late.

“We will help and support them to do that.”

The decision goes against the council’s own poll of residents, in which some 73% voted against the measures.

Despite her defence, many media, residents and local venue owners are still unhappy with the decision. In particular, critics are calling out London’s night czar Amy Lamé, who along with Mayor Sadiq Khan, is said to have been discussing the move for the past year. Responding, the NME published a somewhat scathing article on the decline of London’s nightlife during Lamé’s tenure.

Defending her role, the night czar tweeted that licensing decisions were not her responsibility.

Beyond the midnight curfew, the Special Policy Area (SPA) in Shoreditch, which is already home to well known music venues the Old Blue Last and Village Underground, is set to expand. For many, this means new venues will find it difficult to open in the first place. The news has lead local campaign group We Love Hackney to label the new policies “some of the toughest restrictions on nightlife in Britain” and a “gift to big corporates.”

Since facing criticism, Lamé has announced she has requested an urgent meeting with the council to discuss the way forward for nightlife in the borough.

 


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.

MSG reveals high-tech London venue plans

London is to get a striking new large-scale music and entertainment venue courtesy of Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), its first outside the US, IQ can reveal. The venue will be based on the groundbreaking MSG Sphere concept unveiled yesterday in New York and LA.

MSG Sphere – which will debut at the American venue giant’s new 18,000-seat arena in Las Vegas when it breaks ground this June – aims “to make concertgoers part of the experience” through what MSG describes as “game-changing technologies that push the limits of connectivity, acoustics, video and content distribution”.

High-tech innovations include a sound system that individually targets each seat, ensuring everyone hears the same performance, no matter their location, and – most strikingly – ultra-HD video screens that stretch across venue’s walls and ceilings, enveloping attendees in an immersive visual experience. The Vegas venue will also feature high-speed internet at every seat, allowing concertgoers to share their experience on social media and enabling interactive experiences with artists.

While the London venue is still in the early stages of planning, with no concrete details on capacity or design, the company confirms it will be based on the MSG Sphere concept.

MSG Sphere London will be located next to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, near the site of the 2012 Olympic games.

 


MSG says Sphere is a natural fit for EDM events

MSG says Sphere is a natural fit for EDM events


 

Madison Square Garden Company – which has long been rumoured to have an interest in London, and was believed to be in the running to buy the Olympia before its acquisition by German investors in April – has purchased nearly five acres of land in the area on which to construct the venue, says MSG CEO James Dolan.

“London is one of the world’s greatest cities, and we are delighted to be taking this first step towards making it the location for MSG’s first international venue,” he says.

The project will be overseen by Jayne McGivern, who joined MSG as executive vice-president, development and construction. McGivern’s previous executive roles have included spells as UK managing director of AEG and CEO of leading contractor Multiplex Europe, which built the new Wembley Stadium.

“We believe that a large-scale, next-generation venue will not only become a premier destination, but also drive growth in London’s overall music and entertainment market,” continues Dolan, “benefiting artists and fans and serving as a long-term investment in the future of this incredible city. MSG Sphere will provide a home where like-minded communities can come together to not only interact with the performance, but also with each other.”

“London is one of the world’s greatest cities, and we are delighted to be taking this first step towards making it the location for MSG’s first international venue”

Preliminary analysis by Ernst & Young shows MSG Sphere London will create approximately 3,200 new jobs annually, contribute £2.7bn to the UK economy over the initial 20 years of operations and generate additional revenues of more than £50m every year for local businesses.

McGivern tells IQ that since the closure of Earls Court (20,000-cap.) in 2014, London has been “underserved by big arenas” – a statement backed up by research undertaken by Sound Diplomacy which found London, Europe’s live music capital, has fewer large arenas relative to population size than other major cities, including Paris, Berlin, Madrid and New York.

Plans for a new arena in east London raise the prospect of an escalation of the much-publicised ‘venue war’ between MSG and The O2 operator AEG, although McGivern says MSG is focused on “growing the market” rather than taking market share from other operators. “It’s absolutely an opportunity to grow the market in London,” she explains. “Whenever we see new venues popping up, the market grows with them – just look at the Forum in LA.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says MSG’s confidence in the UK capital is further testament to London’s status as a “music powerhouse”. “From intimate grassroots music venues to spectacular arenas, London’s buzzing live music scene is world renowned,” he comments. “It’s great to welcome another world-class venue to the capital, to confirm London’s position as a music powerhouse and to boost still further our city’s thriving night-time economy.”

 


Audiences will be immersed in multi-sensory environments that can be "as large as the ocean"

Audiences will be immersed in multi-sensory environments that can be “as large as the ocean”


 

“It’s great news that the world-famous Madison Square Garden Company has chosen London to be home for its first international venue,” adds Britain’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Matt Hancock. “This cements both the capital and UK’s reputation for leading the world in music and the creative industries.

“This groundbreaking arena in east London will not only create jobs, but help us continue to develop incredible artists, music and innovative technology that will give fans an amazing experience.”

In addition to its plans to build in London and Las Vegas, MSG’s venues include its flagship 20,000-cap. Madison Square Garden venue in New York, along with the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; the Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston.

 


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.

‘This will help London thrive’: Met axes form 696

London’s Metropolitan police is to abolish form 696, the controversial risk-assessment document critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan.

Following a review process, which included consultations with local authorities, venues, the Musicians’ Union, London Promoter Forum and the Institute of Licensing, the Met announced today it is to abolish the form – which it acknowledged was perceived to “disproportionately affect” certain genres of music – in favour of a “new voluntary partnership approach” with venues and promoters in the city.

Form 696, introduced in 2005 in response to a number of shootings at club nights across London, requires potential licensees to list performers’ and promoters’ names, addresses and phone numbers, the style of music to be performed and the event’s target audience. It is the requests for information on genre and audience that are particularly controversial, with critics accusing the police of racial profiling by singling out primarily black musical styles such as grime, garage and bashment.

Ticketmaster’s latest State of Play report, which focuses on grime, revealed more than half the British general public believes the form to be discriminatory.

Half of UK population say form 696 is discriminatory

“It is clear that in recent years the landscape of the night time economy in London has changed, and thankfully we have seen a reduction in serious incidents at promoted music events, particularly those involving firearms,” says Met superintendent Roy Smith. “We have also been working in close partnership with the music industry and others to raise standards of safety in venues and at events.

“We have taken the decision to remove form 696 and instead develop a new voluntary partnership approach for venues and promoters across London. This will provide an excellent opportunity to share information at a local level and work to identify any enhanced risk to ensure the safety of the public.”

“This decision will … ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan – a notable critic of form 696 – adds: “Developing a night-time economy that works for everyone is a key priority of mine, but it’s also vital that live music events in London take place safely. I called for a review of form 696 earlier this year because of concerns raised by promoters and artists in the capital that this process was unfairly affecting specific communities and music genres. […]

“This decision will help London’s night-time economy thrive, ensure the capital is a welcoming place for artists and DJs of all music genres and that Londoners are able to enjoy live music safely.”

He also praised the work of night czar Amy Lamé in securing the form’s repeal, saying that, “by bringing together the Met and representatives from across the city’s legendary grassroots music industry, we have shown why having a night czar is so important for London”.

“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry”

Industry umbrella group UK Music also welcomed the decision to scrap form 696, with chief executive Michael Dugher commenting: “This is fantastic news. UK Music has campaigned to get rid of this unpopular restriction on our diverse and vibrant music scene.”

“It’s great that mayor of London Sadiq Khan and London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, have listened to the concerns of the music industry.” 

“We thank him for showing leadership on this important issue and ensuring that the London remains a world beater when it comes to our cultural music mix.”

 


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.

“Incredible” London is Europe’s live music capital

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has hailed the UK capital’s “world-class arenas” and “amazing grassroots music venues”, as it emerges London hosted the most concerts of any city in Europe last year – a feat it is on course to repeat in 2017.

There were 19,940 total live music events in London in 2016 – more than San Francisco (13,672), Paris (11,248) and Chicago (11,224), as well as the self-described ‘live music capital of the world’, Austin, Texas (6,781).

The city is also in third place globally, behind first-placed New York, with 28,529 shows in 2016, and runner-up Los Angeles, which just pipped London to second place with 20,843 events, according to data shared with IQ by Songkick.

The concert-discovery platform, recently acquired by Warner Music Group, analysed concert data from 12 major music cities for the study, which additionally found London had the second most venues (1,780), behind only Los Angeles (2,002), and that Austin – the home of South by Southwest – had, unsurprisingly, the most shows in one day (278, compared to London’s 125, LA’s 120, New York’s 144 and Chicago’s 73).

The figures from Songkick come after a strong showing for London in UK Music’s latest Wish You Were Here report, which found money generated by live music in the the capital exceeded the £1 billion mark for the first time, increasing 6% on 2015, bolstered by an increase in music tourism and new additions to the festival calendar.

“It’s fantastic to see London ranking so highly for live music and for grassroots music venues”

“London’s buzzing live music scene is world renowned, having produced artists from Adele to Ed Sheeran, the Clash and the Rolling Stones,” Khan tells IQ. “I’ve made growing London’s culture and creative industries a core priority, and music is a huge part of this. That’s why I appointed night czar Amy Lamé to act as a champion for venues and the night-time economy to ensure we strengthen our reputation as a powerhouse for music.

“In London, we have some of the greatest places to catch a live gig – from world-class arenas to amazing grassroots music venues – and it is little wonder that music lovers come from across the globe to enjoy our city’s incredible nightlife.”

In full, the 2016 top 12 are: New York (28,529), Los Angeles (20,843), London (19,940), the San Francisco Bay area (13,672), Paris (11,248), Chicago (11,224), Philadelphia (8,691), Las Vegas (8,023), Denver (7,343), Washington, DC (7,219), Seattle (6,893) and Austin (6,781).

Looking ahead to 2017, London retains its third place globally, with 11,747 total events as of 8 August – again, behind New York and Los Angeles. Paris, however, slips down to sixth, with Chicago taking its place.

“In London, we have some of the greatest places to catch a live gig”

Like Khan, Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd welcomes the findings – although he cautions that the work needed to reverse London’s well-publicised decline in venue numbers is far from over.

“It’s obviously fantastic to see London still ranking so highly for live music and for grassroots music venues,” he comments. “There’s a really feeling that City Hall understands these venues and wants to help support them, and the work already being done is showing some results – 2016–17 was the first year in ten years that London didn’t suffer a net loss of grassroots music venues.

“But there’s a lot more to be done. Cities across the world are recognising grassroots music venues as a good investment opportunity, creating pipelines of new talent and local jobs. Sydney just announced investment into grassroots music venues infrastructure, following Berlin, Amsterdam and other leading world cities in recognising that fantastic new artists deserve incredible places to play and audiences deserve to be able to see and hear artists in the very best quality settings. Music Venue Trust believes London can do the same; there’s a Good Growth fund, so let’s use it to really support grassroots culture.”

With thanks to Songkick and James Drury.

 


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.

Number of venues in London stable in 2016

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.”

 


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.

Fabric lawyer named Night Time Commission chair

Philip Kolvin QC, a licensing lawyer who represented Fabric in its successful bid to have its licence reinstated, has been appointed chairman of London’s Night Time Commission.

A statement from the office of the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, describes Kolvin (pictured) as “the UK’s top expert on licensing” and says he will work alongside newly appointed night czar Amy Lamé to “develop and implement a vision of London as a 24-hour city”.

The Night Time Commission was established in March by then-mayor Boris Johnson to investigate “what should be done to protect and manage” London’s night-time economy. Johnson said at the time that “licensing requirements and other red tape are damaging [venues’] operations, even leading to closures. If we are to compete against other world cities is vital that we develop policies to reconcile the competing needs and concerns.”

The commission was headed up initially by Munira Mirza, then the deputy mayor for education and culture. Originally scheduled to conclude in October, its work has been extended by Khan into the new year.

“Working alongside Amy Lamé, Philip’s expert knowledge in the field of licensing, regulation and policy will be crucial in ensuring our live music venues and nightclubs are protected from closure”

Speaking today, Khan said: “Our city’s flourishing nightlife attracts millions of visitors from the UK and abroad every year. However, with the loss of so many clubs and venues from around the capital, we cannot afford to be complacent. That’s why I’m delighted to appoint Philip Kolvin QC as chair of a revamped Night Time Commission.

“Working alongside my newly-appointed night czar, Amy Lamé, Philip’s expert knowledge in the field of licensing, regulation and policy will be crucial in ensuring that our live music venues and nightclubs are protected from closure and that they are recognised as a distinctive part of our cultural heritage.”

Kolvin adds: “It’s vital that we ensure that everyone benefits from a thriving night-time economy – from those who want a great night out to those who want a good night’s sleep. I look forward to working with [Lamé] so that we can develop the role of London as the global leader of the night-time economy.”

 


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.

London hiring: Khan seeks his night czar

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made good on his promise to create a ‘night czar’ role to oversee London’s night-time economy and grassroots music venues and clubs.

City Hall this afternoon posted the official job description, which offers the successful applicant £35,000 per annum for 2.5 days a week, and is initially fixed-term for a year. Desirable qualities include a “proven leadership ability, public profile and convening power” and “thorough understanding of the night-time economy and the ability to work in a political environment”.

Khan vowed to make the cultural sector one of his “top priorities” following his election in May, and has recently been vocal in his support for Ben Lovett’s new venue, Omeara, and under-threat nightclub Fabric.

London’s small-venue scene, long in steep decline – an estimated 40% of grassroots music venues closed between 2004 and 2014 – is slowly recovering, reported IQ in June, with at least four new venues scheduled to open this year.

 


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.