Venues Day International to debut in October
Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents 100s of grassroots music venues in the UK, has announced that its annual conference and networking event, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, will now take place in October.
To enable as many venues as possible to participate, Venues Day 2021 – which takes place at Earth in London on Tuesday 5 October – will be a hybrid event incorporating Venues Day Online, a day of virtual activity on 12 October, to ensure every venue in the country gets access to best practice information, advice and guidance as they emerge from lockdown.
Another new event, the inaugural Venues Day International, will take place on 19 October. A partnership between MVT and Live DMA (Europe), Music Policy Forum (North America), Canadian Live Music Association, Live Music Office Australia and NIVA (US), Venues Day International is the first global event aimed exclusively at grassroots music venue operators and owners.
Venues Day International will also take place online and feature panels, presentations and discussion on shared challenges and opportunities across the world.
“We are incredibly excited … to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events”
Venues Day is sponsored by Ticketmaster and Amazon, with additional support coming from Jack Daniel’s, White Light, ILMC and media partners IQ and NME.
Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, says: “Venues Day has long been a pillar for the grassroots community, but this year’s will be a lifeline to so many venues around the country as we inch closer to reopening. The sheer graft of MVT throughout the pandemic to support the industry has been truly inspiring to see, and we’re happy to do our part and sponsor Venues Day 2021.”
“Music Venue Trust offers invaluable support to our industry, and initiatives such as the Grassroots Music Venues Crisis Service have provided a lifeline for many over the past year,” adds Patrick Clifton, UK head of music for Amazon Music. “At Amazon Music we’re proud to continue our partnership with MVT, to help bring Venues Day to grassroots sites across the country, providing guidance and advice to ensure they can safely open their doors to music fans.”
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust, comments: “Venues Day 2021 will further encourage collaboration and sharing, connecting venues across the world so they feel part of a growing movement to emphasise how vital they are to both the wider music industry and local communities. We are incredibly excited to not only be able to deliver the existing event, but to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and to be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events with our domestic and international partners.”
Wolf Alice call on musicians to help save venues
Ellie Rowsell, frontwoman of Mercury Prize-winning band Wolf Alice, has called for more musicians to step up in the fight to protect the UK’s grassroots venues. The singer-songwriter spoke at the start of Venues Day 2018, the conference organised by Music Venue Trust.
The sold-out fifth edition of Venues Day takes place today, with over 500 venue professionals in attendance at Islington Academy in London. Following a welcome address by Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement Jones, Rowsell urged more musicians to support the grassroots venues scene.
“I could go down to the [now-closed] Purple Turtle in Camden and borrow every piece of their equipment on their open-mic nights,” she said. “When I see these grassroots venues closing down or under threat, I worry that these authentic starts may no longer be possible.
“The music industry can’t afford to be more depersonalised – when your favourite venue turns into a Costa Coffee, it’s a loss of culture, opportunity, community and individualism.”
“When your favourite venue turns into a Costa Coffee, it’s a loss of culture, opportunity, community and individualism”
MVT says it hopes to see more musicians attending and lending their support to Venues Day 2019.
Rowsell continued: “Musicians can be one of the greatest helps of all. Last summer we toured a lot of the venues we first played in. It’s easy to forget that the venues are there cheering you on as well, and might invite you back to play when you’ve sold no tickets the first time around.”
“It’s important for musicians to recognise these acts of kindness – more should be giving back.”
Venues Day is supported by UK Music, Help Musicians, Jack Daniels, the O2 Arena and Academy Music Group. The programme includes a mix of panel discussions, presentations, working groups and speedmeeting sessions with booking agents and various specialists.
Venues Day 2018 sells out
The 2018 edition of Venues Day, which takes place at Islington Assembly Hall in London next Wednesday (17 October), has sold out, organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced.
Venues Day 2018, which moves after four successful years at Ministry of Sound, will host more than 500 delegates representing over 200 venues, together with key grassroots music venue sector stakeholders, for a day of panels, workshops and presentations.
Agenda highlights include panels on music industry practice, health and wellbeing and company structures, while presentations include PRS/PPL on licensing, John Spellar MP on the progress of agent of change and the next steps for venues, and headline sponsor TicketWeb presenting facts and figures from the frontline.
Returning for 2018 is Sandbox, the meeting space for agents and venues, and the MVT team will be at hand to offer advise on licensing, planning, rates and legal issues.
“Venues Day is the key moment in the calendar when the music industry can hear directly from the venues under threat”
“The ongoing crisis in the grassroots music venues sector shows no signs of abating, with three new venues, Sticky Mike’s, Talking Heads and Marshall Rooms, forced to announce closures this week,” says MVT.
“Venues Day, now in its fifth year, is the key moment in the calendar when the music industry can hear directly from these venues under threat about what needs to change, and what steps need to be taken to protect, secure and improve the sector.”
The event kicks off with a panel presented by BBC DJ Steve Lamacq, ‘The Magnificent Seven: Anniversaries, Celebrations and Survival Stories’, celebrating venues that have fought on against the threat of closure.
For full details, visit the MVT website.
Night and Day Café signs with TicketWeb
TicketWeb, Ticketmaster’s indie ticketing platform for independent venues and promoters, has signed Night and Day Café, one of Manchester’s most famous music venues, the company revealed to IQ at Venues Day earlier this week.
The 220-cap. venue (pictured) moving over from Dice to TicketWeb follows a year of strong growth for the latter’s Backline service, a joint venture between Venues Day organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT) and TicketWeb which serves as a way for small (sub-1,500-cap.) venues and promoters to sell tickets directly to fans through their own platforms.
Launched at Venues Day 2016, there are now more than 25 new MVT venues using Backline, said TicketWeb International’s director of marketing and artist services, Jon West.
“We have a special deal with MVT members with a capacity of 500 or below,” he explained, highlighting new Backline clients including the Booking Hall in Dover and the Brook in Southampton.
grassrootsvenues.tickets, meanwhile – a website and service by TicketWeb and MVT that has “rapidly become a hub for fans wanting to learn about their local grassroots music venues” – launched in July.
“TM had its busiest day ever when Ed Sheeran’s stadium tour went on sale – but that story started on TicketWeb in grassroots venues”
“It’s great to work with iconic venues from cities with a rich music heritage, but the other important part of what we do with MVT is recognising that live music exists outside major cities,” West continued. “It’s been really cool seeing these pockets of music, these cultural hubs that are at the centre of their local communities, and it’s really important to support them.”
As an example, West referred back to Steve Lamacq’s Venues Day keynote, in which the BBC radio DJ became noticeably teary as he talked about his “old stomping ground” in Harlow, Essex, where the town’s main venue, the Square, has been closed since last December.
TicketWeb, explained West, also plays an important part in Ticketmaster’s artist services division, with Sam Isles simultaneously serving as TicketWeb MD and VP of Ticketmaster artist services.
“Grassroots venues are the breeding ground for new talent,” he said. “Ticketmaster had its busiest day ever earlier this year, when Ed Sheeran’s stadium tour went on sale – but that story started long ago on TicketWeb in grassroots venues across the country, and that’s just another reason why these stages are so important to the whole music industry”.
MVT welcomes financial backing from Sony Music UK
Recorded music business giant Sony Music UK has become the first major industry player to commit to financially supporting Music Venue Trust (MVT) and its mission protect, preserve and improve Britain’s grassroots music venues.
The announcement, which comes after MVT’s recent Venues Day 2017 event in London, attended by more than 500 delegates, will be welcome news for the organisation following the controversial rejection of its request for funding by Arts Council England.
Jason Iley, chairman and CEO of Sony Music UK, says: “Sony is committed to supporting and developing artists from grassroots to festival headliners. We recognise the vital role that grassroots music venues play in that journey, providing an essential platform for artists to be able to take their first steps and develop their audiences.
“These venues are the heart of our music communities, and we support the work of Music Venue Trust to protect, secure and improve them.”
MVT says it hopes the commitment from Sony – and the involvement of eight of the UK’s top booking agencies in the Sandbox at Venues Day – will encourage further financial support from key players in the British music industry.
“Post-Venues Day, MVT will be focusing on strengthening music industry relationships and working with our network of venues, the Music Venues Alliance, to fundraise to take forward priorities identified at the event,” comments Venues Day producer Bev Whitrick.
Venues Day: John Spellar in push for UK-wide agent of change
Michael Dugher, the chief executive of UK Music, yesterday unveiled fresh plans to protect music venues threatened with closure.
Speaking at Music Venue Trust’s fourth Venues Day event at Ministry of Sound in London, Dugher said the the umbrella organisation had partnered with Labour MP John Spellar to push in parliament a radical plan to enshrine the agent-of-change principle – which would require property developers to take into account pre-existing businesses, like music venues, before proceeding with a project – in UK law.
Since last May, agent of change is already included in planning guidance in England, but is not compulsory. The proposed new law would would place a burden on the developer to make sure solutions are in place to mitigate the potential impact of their scheme on existing businesses across the entire United Kingdom, including Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Spellar will outline the measures in a backbench ‘ten-minute rule’ bill later this year and hopes to win government support for the legislation.
“I hope everyone will join UK Music in our battle to get agent of change on to the statue book”
“Enshrining agent of change in law would be a critical weapon to help music venues across the UK in their fight for survival,” says Dugher. “The threat from developers, along with soaring business rates and licensing regulations, could prove a lethal cocktail for many venues unless we work together to help them survive and thrive.
“In particular, these are challenging times for small and grassroots venues which play a crucial role in nurturing new talent and helping artists get their big break. I hope everyone will join UK Music in our battle to get agent of change on to the statue book so we can ensure the continued vibrancy and diversity of our fantastic music venues.”
Spellar adds: “I’m delighted to be working with UK Music to win support for the agent-of-change principle.
“More than 30 million people attended live music events last year at venues across the UK. The live music industry makes a major contribution to both our economy, employment and our culture. It must be safeguarded.”
Peer: Venues ‘not doing enough’ to combat terror
A British peer has said licensing laws should be changed to force staff at UK music venues to undergo counter-terror training.
“There are clearly a number of venues – often the larger venues, I think, but not always – who have airport-style security, who, for example, do have metal detectors, who do have very well-trained security personnel and they top up this training regularly,” said Baroness Henig (pictured), who is also a non-executive chair of private security firm SecuriGroup.
“But I think at the other end there is a tail of venues who aren’t taking it seriously – we know this from the police – who don’t co-operate, who don’t take up the offers that are made to them and where I think there are some concerns. And the issue is, how do you get to that tail of venues who are perhaps not doing as much as they should be about security?”
“It is unfortunate Baroness Henig should have made such an ill-judged statement without contacting us”
Baroness Henig’s comments were criticised by Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s Mark Davyd, who described them as “ill-judged” and rejected claims Britain’s venues are refusing to cooperate with authorities.
“It is unfortunate Baroness Henig should have made such an ill-judged statement without contacting us,” he tells IQ. “We would have been able to reassure her that small music venues are fully engaged with [Metropolitan police counter-terrorism initiative] Project Griffin, which was presented at Venues Day 2016 and was warmly received by over 200 music venues.
“There is no evidence to suggest that music venues are averse to engage with the police or any other non-commercial security agencies when it comes to issues surrounding the safety of the public. If any grassroots music venue feels under-informed about Project Griffin, Music Venue Trust is working with the Met and we are happy to supply further information.
“We have not been made aware of any specific threat against grassroots music venues; we would urge that all public spaces, theatres, cinemas, libraries, museums, etc., should adopt the proactive approach being undertaken in this sector by MVT and the Met.”
Sir Paul backs MVT: ‘We need places to start out’
Following yesterday’s well-received third Venues Day event at the Roundhouse, Sir Paul McCartney has affirmed his support for Music Venue Trust’s efforts to protect the UK’s grassroots music venues.
The ex-Beatle, who on Saturday played the second and final weekend of the Desert Trip ‘megafestival’ in California, says: “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to play in venues of all different shapes and sizes, from tiny clubs to massive stadiums all over the world. Without grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different.
“I support Music Venue Trust because artists need places to start out, develop and work on their craft, and small venues have been the cornerstone for this. If we don’t support live music at this level then the future of music in general is in danger.”
“Without grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues, my career could have been very different”
Also throwing their weight behind MVT’s mission are writer, comedian and ‘national treasure’ Stephen Fry, Jeremy Pritchard of Everything Everything and Public Service Broadcasting’s J. Willgoose, Esq. (the latter two of whom performed at the post-Venues Day #Fightback show).
Fry comments: “Are you fed up with our music venues being closed down by greedy and short-sighted developers and people with no sense of culture? Let’s club together and #Fightback.”
Willgoose adds: “”We’re firmly behind Music Venue Trust and its support for grassroots venues across the country. Too many venues have been lost in recent years and those that survive are under unprecedented pressure from unscrupulous developers, with little protection offered to them by the government, be it national or local.”
New ticketing platform, refit scheme for UK venues
Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced a raft of new initiatives for grassroots venues, including a national ticketing platform, a scheme to refit 100 sites over five years and an emergency response scheme to provide professional advice.
The announcements were made at Venues Day 2016 in London today (18 October) during an opening address by MVT head Mark Davyd.
Set up in partnership with .tickets and Ticketmaster’s TicketWeb, Grassrootsvenues.tickets (GV.T) is a new national ticketing platform for venues which integrates a ‘maintain and sustain’ levy similar to restoration funds seen in theatre (estimated at 50 pence on a £10 ticket). The platform also aims to report nationally to PRS for Music, removing the need for MVT members to report directly.
Venues signing up to the platform will be given a new website and .tickets domain, which integrates into the national GV.T platform. “We’re going to push tickets in a much more effective way,” Davyd said. “We want to make sure that artists and writers who perform in these venues actually get paid.”
“We’re going to push tickets in a much more effective way. We want to make sure that artists and writers who perform in these venues actually get paid”
Also announced at Venues Day was Sound + Vision, an ambitious initiative that wants to refit sound, lighting and staging in 100 UK venues over five years. Partners on the scheme include AV supplier White Light, Ents 24, TicketWeb, Jack Daniel’s and Help Musicians UK, which MVT estimates will reduce the £2.2million annual budget to just £970,000.
“All we need to develop a touring circuit we can be proud of, and that does our artists justice, is £4.85 million over the next five years,” Davyd said. “The Royal Opera House receives five times that in funding, so we’re calling on the Arts Council, and others, to support this.”
Further initiatives announced included the Emergency Response scheme to help venues with issues in planning, licensing and legal issues; and an expansion of MVT activity into Northern Ireland this autumn, and Scotland by early 2017.
TicketWeb signs up as second Venues Day sponsor
TicketWeb has been announced as the second headline sponsor for Venues Day 2016.
The company, a Ticketmaster UK-owned ticketing platform for independent live music, shares Venues Day organiser Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s “ambition to help protect, preserve and improve the UK’s grassroots music venues”, says MVT, and joins UK Music – announced as the first headline sponsor in April – as the second confirmed partner of the event.
Sam Isles, managing director of TicketWeb, says: “Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry. With these venues emerging acts have a place to shine, and fans have a place to discover amazing new music.
“Independent live music is what we’re all about, and grassroots music venues are the backbone of the industry”
“This is why we passionately support Music Venue Trust and look forward to sponsoring Venues Day.”
Venues Day, aimed at those who own or operate small and medium independent music venues in the UK, this year takes place at a new venue, the Roundhouse in Camden, on 18 October.
TicketWeb earlier this week revealed plans to partner with independent British concert promoters to showcase local talent, starting with Brighton-based CloseUp Promotions.