The third annual Venues Day 2016 took place in London today (October 18) with Music Venue Trust founder and CEO Mark Davyd unveiling three new initiatives in a passionate opening speech.
In front of an audience packed with representatives of venues up and down the country, Davyd – who co-founded the Tunbridge Wells Forum in 1993 – announced a new ticket offering to small venues, an audiovisual initiative and an outreach operation in Northern Ireland.
Developed by TicketWeb in collaboration with MVT and .tickets, TicketWeb Backline is designed to empower grassroots venues and promoters. The service offers improvements including transparency, reduced booking fees, assistance with PRS responsibilities and the introduction of the Maintain + Sustain Fund, a fixed customer contribution on each ticket.
Davyd described the Sound And Vision initiative as “like DIY SOS for music venues” and Venues Day sponsor White Light is set to continue its efforts to provide small venues with technological solutions, using Yamaha consoles and Shure microphones.
The third announcement involves leading music charity Help Musicians UK, which provides health and welfare support to working and retired musicians. The charity has launched its Northern Irish brand and the Music Venue Trust will help support the region’s musical infrastructure.
Leaving the stage to loud applause, Davyd returned to sit on the first panel of the day, Building On Progress, alongside BBC 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq, UK Music CEO Jo Dipple, Lord Tim Clement-Jones CBE, Arts Council England’s Laura Dyer and chair Adam Sherwin. In his opening address, Lamaqc said: “We are up against a very greedy music industry, but we are a terrifically important part of it. I know how thin the line is between venues staying open and going bust, and I know everyone here works their bloody arse off every single day. Let's get something done today."
Lord Clement-Jones, who introduced 2012’s Live Music Act lamented the closure of venues in British towns and cities and said, “There's no doubt that live venues are a big part of our culture. We're here for nationwide change." As the discussion neared the end, Dipple passionately addressed the room, adding, “As a community of activists, we’re stronger than ever.”
The conference continued with various panel discussions throughout the afternoon, and the event is due to close with a special ‘Fightback’ fundraising concert at The Roundhouse tonight, featuring sets from Everything Everything, Ed Harcourt, Public Service Broadcasting and more.
The Music Venue Trust was founded in 2014 and its artist patrons include Frank Turner, Savages and Enter Shikari. Alongside Clement-Jones, its political patrons are Nigel Adams MP and Kerry McCarthy MP. Paul Buck (Coda Agency), Geoff Meall (United Talent Agency) and Barry Dickins (ITB) are among its music business patrons.