Key music industry organisations have pledged to tackle the issues facing grassroots music venues in the UK.
Signatories to a Statement Of Intent for a Pipeline Investment Fund include the Musicians’ Union, UK Live Music, Concert Promoters Association, National Arena Association, Entertainment Agents Association, Music Managers Forum and Music Industries Association.
A total of 15 organisations have signed the Statement Of Intent, which was launched by Music Venue Trust at Venues Day in October 2018.
“We asked the UK music industry to sign up to the concept that we need to take collective financial action on the challenges facing grassroots venues,” explains Beverley Whitrick, MVT strategic director. “We are delighted with the response from the industry and the willingness to find positive, constructive solutions so that we can properly protect the Grassroots Music Venues Pipeline from which, ultimately, everyone benefits.”
The current aims of the Pipeline Investment Fund include funding infrastructure, sound and lights in grassroots venues; placing venues into protected ownership by acquiring freeholds; creating training and apprenticeship schemes; and offering centralised legal, planning and licensing advice. With the Statement of Intent now signed, the signatories will begin working together in early 2019 to identify funding solutions.
“With 35% of the UK’s grassroots venues having closed over the last 10 years, it’s time for the industry to act,” said Greg Parmley, chair of UK Live Music and MD of the ILMC. “We need structured and planned investment to secure these vital spaces against development, rent rises, poor infrastructure and failing facilities.”
Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, said: “Grassroots Music Venues are an essential part of the live music scene. We have been working with Music Venue Trust for over four years to ensure that these iconic buildings can continue to showcase the next generation of talent. We welcome the Pipeline Investment Fund initiative to look at ways that our industry can secure the legacy of these venues for many years to come.”
AEG Europe COO John Langford said: “AEG is committed to working with our partners in the live music industry to find a solution to the critical challenges faced by Grassroots Music Venues. The Pipeline Investment Fund is an opportunity to deliver real, practical and urgent action right across the music industry.”
MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said: “Small venues are crucial to talent development and building committed fans, so we look forward to transforming this concept into a clear, effective and deliverable plan."
“It’s reassuring to see such great efforts being made to provide organised assistance to venues,” added Horace Trubridge, general secretary of the Musicians’ Union.