A handful of music venues including London clubbing institution Fabric, Liverpool's M&S Bank Arena and Bournemouth International Centre have received seven-figure grants in the third round of the government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
Thirty-five of the country’s leading cultural organisations and venues will be awarded between £1 million and £3m from the £1.57 billion pot - the largest awards to date - to help secure their future amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: "These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are. This vital funding will secure their future and protect jobs right away."
ACC Liverpool Group, which includes the M&S Bank Arena, Exhibition Centre Liverpool and Convention Centre, has received £2,972,659, BH Live, which operates venues including Bournemouth International Centre, Croydon's Fairfield Halls and Bournemouth Pavilion, gets £2,499,531 and Fabric Life is awarded £1,514,262.
This grant will be used towards the operational costs of the arena until we are able to return to staging full capacity large scale arena shows
Bob Prattey, ACC Liverpool Group
Bob Prattey, chief executive of The ACC Liverpool Group, said: “We are extremely grateful for the financial support we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund during this very challenging time. The grant will be used towards the operational costs of the arena until we are able to return to staging full capacity large scale arena shows.
“While we are very pleased to receive this funding for the arena, we still have no start date from the government as to when we can resume our growing conference and exhibition programme. This situation is severely curtailing our corporate financial performance and ability to generate economic impact for the city region through attracting visitors who stay in hotels and spend across the visitor economy in restaurants and retail outlets. We therefore continue to fight for clarity, guidance and a survival package for these sectors as well."
BH Live CEO Chris Symons said: “We are incredibly grateful for this financial lifeline. This much needed award will secure the future of cultural events for the communities we serve. We will be able to retain some of our talented team and bring forward essential investment in service and event technology which is now needed more than ever. It will enable us to meet ongoing costs while our venues are in hibernation and assist us in getting our venues ready and Covid-secure – providing essential reassurance for our customers and colleagues.”
A statement from Fabric said: "The Culture Recovery Fund will be a vital lifeline for us, particularly as we expect to be unable to open for regular club events for the foreseeable future. The latest developments suggest that hosting reduced activities will be our best case scenario for at least the next six months. With this in mind, part of the grant will be used to secure the survival of the venue, including covering rent, critical maintenance and introducing Covid-secure infrastructure to ensure that we can bring people together safely when we reopen.
"But we’ll still be active during this period of restrictions. Our grant will be used to develop a range of new initiatives, including a live stream series, expert-led tutorials, and community outreach programmes celebrating under-represented groups in our community. The past months have allowed us to reflect on all of the things we can improve as a cultural entity and we plan to implement these as soon as we begin activity. The fund will provide income for all artists, technicians and staff members involved, and we’ll share full details in the coming weeks.
"We’re thrilled that a venue such as ours has been recognised alongside so many of the UK’s most prized institutions. Electronic music is culture and we are proud to have represented this scene for the last 21 years. While it’s very difficult to look to the future in the midst of so much uncertainty, we sincerely hope that our community will be able to come together and bounce back stronger."
Other successful music applicants include Performances Birmingham (£2,534,675), which manages Town Hall and Symphony Hall, and Sage Gateshead (£1.8m), while suppliers Lights Control Rigging Productions and Adlib Audio, will be receiving £1,076,179 and £1,650,356, respectively.
Sage Gateshead MD Abigail Pogson, said: “We are extremely grateful to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and Arts Council England for supporting us with £1.8 million in emergency funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. This will help ensure Sage Gateshead’s survival to next spring and is an investment in our region’s economic and social recovery, to which arts and culture are vital.
“We have lost £10 million of income as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and we have done everything we can to cut costs and to raise funds. The size of the grant reflects the scale of the challenge we face. We have to raise a further £700,000 this year through our own efforts to ensure that we can continue to deliver high quality live music and life-enhancing education and participation to communities across the North East.”
Further recipients in the £75m tranche include the Design Museum and theatres such as Shakespeare’s Globe, the Old Vic and Sheffield Crucible.
More than £500m has now been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund to nearly 2,500 cultural organisations and venues of all sizes. The Music Venue Trust previously confirmed an 89% success rate for grassroots music venues that applied for funding in the first two rounds. Of the 291 applications, 258 were successful, with the total amount awarded to MVA grassroot music venue members totalling £41,352,593 out of an overall distribution of £334,062,243.
Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England, which administers the fund, said: “The Culture Recovery Fund has already helped hundreds of organisations, of all types and sizes, in villages, towns and cities across the country. It has provided a lifeline that will allow these organisations to continue to play an integral role in their communities and produce new artistic work that will entertain and inspire us all.
“This latest funding, which are the largest grants to date, will support some of the country’s most loved and admired cultural spaces – from great regional theatres and museums to historic venues in the capital – which are critical to the development of a new generation of talent and in providing work for freelance creatives.”