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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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