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MVT shares manifesto ahead of UK general election

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has published a report entitled, ‘A Manifesto for Grassroots Music’ ahead of the UK General Election on 4 July.

The report, which can be found here, outlines the steps the charity says are required in order to stem the closures of grassroots music venues (GMVs) and bring stability to the sector.

Calling it “a once in a generation opportunity to save the UK’s grassroots music venues”, the report emphasises the need to implement the recent Culture Media & Sport Select Committee recommendations for the wider live music industry to invest in the future of grassroots music via a £1 contribution from every arena and stadium ticket sold for events over 5,000 capacity.

“The manifesto is being delivered to every prospective MP in the country with the request that they come out in support of it as part of their campaign to be elected,” says Sophie Brownlee, the MVT’s external affairs manager. “Music communities across the country will also be asking the candidates where they stand on the future of live music in our towns and cities. The time to act is now.”

“We have a chance to save UK grassroots music venues from the crisis they currently face and we should not let it slip”

The other key areas highlighted in the report are for a fan-led review to fully examine the long-term challenges to the live music ecosystem and the agent of change principle in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) to be put on a statutory footing at the earliest opportunity.

In addition, it is calling for a reduction in VAT on cultural ticketing in GMVs to 0% and reduce VAT on cultural ticketing in the live music industry to the European average (5-7%), as well as the creation of a specific business rates premises definition for GMVs and the removal of properties satisfying that definition from the requirement to pay business rates.

“In 2023, of the 366 small music venues Ed Sheeran played while learning his trade, at least 150 are now closed,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Another 72 grassroots music venues significantly reduced or ended their live music offer. 38% of GMVs in the UK made a loss in the last 12 months. The sector operated on a 0.5% profit margin overall while running live music events at a £115 million loss.

“All of this can be changed if the next government delivers the five simple steps we have set out in this report. We therefore call on all political representatives, from all parties, to seize the moment and drive forward this change. We have a chance to save UK grassroots music venues from the crisis they currently face and we should not let it slip.”

 


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Industry heavyweights unite for Just Vote campaign

Music festival industry heavyweights are uniting to encourage 18-34 year olds to vote in next month’s UK general election.

Taking place just days before the country goes to the polls, Glastonbury Festival will host an exclusive, interactive ‘Crash the Party’ on site installation, reminding festivalgoers to turn out to vote the week after the event.

Glastonbury and Crash the Party are also running a competition to win two tickets to this year’s festival, where entrants who are registered to vote and sign up for reminders about key election moments could be in with a chance of heading to Worthy Farm.

The Crash the Party movement is part of Just Vote – a campaign urging young people to get out and vote on 4 July. Melvin Benn, MD of Festival Republic, which runs Reading & Leeds Festival, is among the industry leaders throwing their support behind the Just Vote campaign.

“Reading & Leeds are among the country’s biggest gatherings of young people and sit at the very heart of our youth culture,” says Benn. “In bringing these festivals to life I have the privilege of witnessing the next generation’s energy and passion first-hand and it is vital that their voices be heard at the general election. The music industry has always been an important force for positive change and working with Just Vote is a great way to empower our audiences to channel their energy into exercising their democratic right at this historic moment.”

Festival Republic is also providing tickets as competition prizes, only available for entry to those who are registered to vote.

“This is the most important general election of our lifetime, and the UK music scene has immense cultural influence which can mobilise young people”

The brainchild of green entrepreneur Dale Vince, Just Vote will feature visuals created by advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi.

“We’re grateful to Festival Republic, Glastonbury and all the participating festivals for throwing their weight behind Just Vote,” says Vince. “This is the most important general election of our lifetime, and the UK music scene has immense cultural influence which can mobilise young people to make their voice heard on 4 July.

“We’re also calling on the UK’s musicians to use your platforms to rally young people to register and then get out and vote. Artists playing these festivals – if you see this please get involved and help spread the word about the Just Vote campaign: the future of our country depends on young people having a say.

“Last year, a single post by Taylor Swift got 35,000 Americans registering to vote. We in the UK have such a long history of mobilising people through music, so there’s no reason our home grown talent shouldn’t be doing the same.”

Crash the Party Participants to date include: 4AD, Acid Box Promotions, A Greener Future, Anjunadeep Open Air London, Association of Independent Festivals, Association of Independent Music, Beggars Group, Believe, Belladrum Festival, Bella Union, Boomtown Festival, Carl Loben, Editor DJ Magazine, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Creative Zero, Deer Shed Festival, Drift Records, ERA, EarthPercent, The FAC, The F List , Festival Republic, Forwards Festival, Glastonbury Festival, Green Gathering Festival, Heavenly Recordings, In Place of War, IQ Magazine, Ivan Milivojev, John Robb, Kilimanjaro Live, KMJ Entertainment, LIVE, Love Saves The Day Festival, LS Events, Matador Records, MMF, Modern Sky Records, Music Declares Emergency, Music Venues Trust, NNA, Ninja Tune, Night Time Industries Association, The O2, OVO Arena Wembley, Proper Productions, Reading & Leeds Festival, Rough Trade, Save Our Scene, Secret Garden Party, Silver Hayes, Sound City, Stephen Budd Music, Superstruct, Team Love, UK Music, UK Music Futures Board, WOMAD, XL Recordings, Xtra Mile Recordings, Young Recording.

 


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