Music Venue Trust celebrates grassroots funding breakthrough

Music Venue Trust celebrates grassroots funding breakthrough

Music Venue Trust is celebrating a funding breakthrough for grassroots venues.

At an event co-hosted by Arts Council England and Ticketmaster at The Great Escape, Arts Council England launched its Supporting Grassroots Live Music funding strand – a ring-fenced fund of £1.5 million within the Arts Council’s National Lottery Project Grants for grassroots music venues and promoters.

Key figures from the live music industry also presented advances with the Pipeline Investment Fund, explaining what initiatives are being implemented so far to raise money from the top of the industry to feed back into the grassroots of the industry.

With this fund we're ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences

Darren Henley

Arts Council England

Darren Henley, CEO, Arts Council England said: “Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them. With this fund we’re ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters working in genres such as rock, pop and hip-hop have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences.”

Music Venue Trust and Arts Council England will be working together to assist venues to access this funding, ensuring that tangible improvements are made to the sound, lighting and facilities for both artists and audiences.

Alongside this major funding announcement, Music Venue Trust also announced the first breakthrough steps in funding from the live music industry to directly support grassroots music venues. Representatives from the live music industry have been meeting with Music Venue Trust since January to identify mechanisms for reinvestment in the venues which act as the research and development department of the industry. 

Major actions agreed so far include: Use of Apprenticeship Levy funds to support apprentices in grassroots music venues, Guest List donations at major events and venues to support improvements at venues, donation options on ticketing across a huge number of events, and direct donations from major companies to support the MVT Emergency Response service which rescues venues from noise complaints, licensing and planning issues.

Andrew Parsons, MD Ticketmaster UK, said: “All of today’s announcements are a huge step forward for grassroots venues – venues that are the beating heart of the music industry. Without them, British talent doesn’t have a place to grow into the next Lewis Capaldi or Mabel. As a long-time supporter of MVT, we’re excited to announce we’ll be giving fans the opportunity to add a donation to MVT through our website. With millions of digital users annually, this will also give unparalleled visibility to MVT and the significant work they do to keep grassroots venues alive and well for us all.”

Phil Bowdery, executive president of touring, international, Live Nation commented: “Every musician that becomes a household name has spent time playing in grassroots music venues. Live Nation and Ticketmaster’s support and funding, taken together with the new Arts Council England fund, is a massive boost to those venues and the musicians who play in them. Live Nation knows that tomorrow’s music relies on investment today. Today is a good day for British music.”

Emma Bownes, vice president of programming, AEG Europe said: “Despite the current boom in UK live music, grassroots music venues in the UK are finding it increasingly hard to survive. The announcements by Music Venue Trust and Arts Council England today, alongside funding initiatives from supporters across the industry, will be an important step in protecting small music venues and supporting the emerging talent that use these spaces to hone their craft.”

Discussions with the Pipeline Investment Fund stakeholders, governments and funding bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue across the next few months to deliver more options for the music industry to support grassroots music venues through the Pipeline Investment Fund programme. 

Mark Davyd, CEO of MVT added: “This is obviously a huge day for grassroots music venues. The real support they need and have been crying out for has arrived. We want to ensure that venues across the UK are able to access the support they need to become real centres of excellence. Britain’s artists and audiences deserve world class, industry leading, grassroots touring circuit. Delivering that circuit is the responsibility of everyone in the music industry, cultural sector, and government. That doesn’t stop with the live music industry and cultural partners making these fantastic announcements today. Labels, publishers, streaming services, we believe everyone has a stake in getting this right. When our grassroots music venues thrive, the whole industry benefits.” 

By Fiona Hope

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