The grassroots music sector is to a benefit from a second round of investment from Arts Council England (ACE), with a further £1.5 million made available to March 2021.
Since launch of the Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund in May 2019, ACE has made 70 awards, investing £1.2m across the country in a range of projects, with the remaining funds to be allocated by April.
Success stories have included an application by London’s 100 Club, which enabled an emerging female promoter to host a festival, as well as upgrading its sound equipment, building a new website and improving accessibility to the venue.
Darren Henley, CEO, Arts Council England, said: “We’re delighted to have supported grassroots venues and promotors across the country in such a broad range of projects. This investment, alongside other Arts Council project-funded initiatives such as Independent Venue Week and Music Venues Trust, plays an important part in helping the grassroots music sector become more resilient and sustainable.
"Though there is still work to be done, we hope this additional £1.5m – along with the government’s recently announced business rate reductions for venues in England –will enable many more venues and promotors to thrive within their communities.”
The announcement comes during the seventh edition of Independent Venue Week, (IVW) a nationwide celebration of all that grassroots venues offer.
IVW founder Sybil Bell said: “It’s such fantastic news that this vitally important fund is being made available again. The difference these grants can make to these small, mostly independently owned local businesses is game changing, and seeing the first £1.5 million being snapped up goes to show how badly needed it is. We helped support some venues with their successful applications in the last round of funding and we’re here to help many more for the coming period.”
The first round of the fund has been used to support grassroots venues including the Macbeth in London, Hare and Hounds in Birmingham, The Louisiana in Bristol, The Independent in Sunderland and The Smokehouse in Ipswich.
Joe Bailey, owner of The Smokehouse said: “We are so pleased to hear of the extension of this fund. It provides incredible opportunities for venues and hard-working and ambitious promoters across the UK to build and strengthen scenes and attract bigger audiences. The fund is particularly important in supporting live music in places such as Ipswich which suffers from a lack of live music infrastructure.”