Music Venue Trust has announced several changes to its board of trustees, including the appointment of new co-chairs and a treasurer.
It follows a period of rapid expansion throughout the pandemic, during which time MVT has been working towards a sustainable future to continue its essential work to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues across the UK.
Phyllis Belezos and Bonita McKinney (pictured, L-R) have been appointed co-chairs of MVT and will succeed Sarah Thirtle in the role.
Phyllis Belezos, who is the director of Heliocentric Entertainment, a music talent booking & consultancy agency, originally became an industry patron for MVT in 2018 and joined the board of trustees in March 2019.
Bonita McKinney, who is label & partnerships manager at Ingrooves, joined as a trustee in December 2019.
“Both played an important role within the organisation throughout the pandemic, particularly when assessing the financial support that MVT was able to give to individual venues in response to the significant funds raised by its hugely successful #SaveOurVenues campaign,” said a statement.
Phyllis Belezos said: “I have been a proud member of the MVT board and am excited to become co-chair. Music Venue Trust and the team’s work has helped venues survive not only during these last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic, but by supporting them in every way. My goal is to continue the building process so that venues not just survive but thrive. I also want to help instigate new ideas and structure to a part of the live industry that is fundamental to the artists and everyone involved in our beloved grassroots music venue community.”
Bonita McKinney said: “I am honoured to be stepping up to the position of co-chair. I’ve seen the team work tirelessly over the pandemic and I want to help them and the music venues we represent as much as possible. I’m excited to lead the board into the next chapter for MVT as we face the post-pandemic music landscape and get back to our core goals and mission.”
Scott Taylforth, finance manager, UK client settlements at Ticketmaster, has also joined the MVT board as treasurer.
“Live music has played a major part in influencing my life for as long as I can remember,” he said. “Grassroots music venues are where it all begins, they’re the breeding ground of an industry that is worth a staggering £5.8 billion to the UK economy. Without them, many opportunities would be lost for future generations and the creative industries as we know them would cease to exist. I am absolutely honoured to be working with the MVT and look forward to working with the team and drawing on my music industry finance experience to help grow this amazing organisation.”
Bengi Unsal, formerly head of contemporary music at Southbank Centre, is stepping down from the MVT board after four years of service as a trustee. Unsal is moving to the role of industry patron of MVT as well as becoming the director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of MVT, said: “We are excited to welcome Phyllis, Bonita and Scott into these roles. Their experience, expertise and insight will be invaluable to our team as we navigate the next phase of MVT and put in place the strategies needed to continue protecting the grassroots music venue community. We would also like to thank Bengi and all of our continuing trustees for their incredible contribution to Music Venue Trust. The charity will continue to develop its board and we welcome expressions of interest from anyone with relevant skills who is keen to volunteer their time and passion for grassroots music venues.”