Music Venue Trust’s Own Our Venues campaign is making a last push as it nears its £2.5 million fundraising target.
Described as a radical intervention into the ownership of the UK’s grassroots music venues, the organisation has set a final deadline of March 30 to secure the remaining investment needed to commence the purchase of properties.
Own Our Venues was launched as a crowdfunded project by Music Venue Trust in June 2022. It is the first step in a long-term campaign to take control of the freeholds of music venue premises and bring them under a protected status.
The Own Our Venues concept is built on the Community Share model that has saved and protected local pubs, post offices and even sports grounds, and is seeking to acquire nine venues in its first phase. Further venue freeholds will then be identified and secured as and when they become available.
On completion of purchase, the venues will be offered an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance, while also guaranteeing long-term security and market resistant rents.
Since the launch of the Own Our Venues initiative, hundreds of individuals, companies and organisations have already pledged their support to the project. These include high-profile investors such as Ed Sheeran, Frank Turner and musician-turned-venue owner Ben Lovett, alongside major music industry companies such as Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music among many others. Arts Council England has confirmed a grant of £500,000 to the project, which is not included in the crowdfunded total.
So far, £1.8m of the target total has been secured and MVT aims to begin purchasing its first venues in April.
Mark Davyd, CEO and founder of MVT, said: “We know that changing the ownership model of grassroots music venues is the single most important change we can make to this sector. The best people to Own Our Venues are the people who love them, need them and use them. We want to see everyone who has a stake in the future of these venues become a direct financial stakeholder in that future; local communities, artists, audiences, the music industry. The success of these venues is vital to the future of live music for all of us. This isn’t a time to sit on the sidelines hoping someone else will do this for us, it’s down to us to make it happen.”