The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has called on the UK government to cancel its Festival Of Britain planned for 2022 and use the money to help grassroots cultural venues.
The nationwide event scheduled for two years time is being organised to mark the country's departure from the European Union.
"We have just issued a open letter to Boris Johnson and in that we are calling on the government to cancel the Festival Of Britain 2022, which is already allocated a budget of £120m and to take that money and put it into a cultural infrastructure relief fund and that would be available to grassroots music venues, theatres, community centres, arts centres, etc, right the way across the country and it is sufficient to pay for the lockdown," CEO Mark Davyd told Music Week.
"We have identified exactly how much this will cost with the grassroots music sector, that is £40m for eight weeks' worth of closure – and that includes sustaining everybody else in our pipeline. If they took that measure nobody else would need to lose out, none of the artists who have deposits or contracts for shows they're supposed to be playing. It would cover our liabilities and all our suppliers – that's an £11m measure – and then to be closed it will cost £3.6m a week to sustain 661 grassroots music venues."
Davyd added that he also wanted the government to make the shut down of venues a legal requirement to help venues manage contracts and leases they may have.
"We are asking that the government legally enforce the lockdown, making an announcement that it is a legal requirement that venues close," he explained.
The MVT have launched a petition to press the government to adopt their measures, which Davyd argued were a common sense approach to existing budgets.
"There is a very simple solution here, it does not require any additional money from the public purse, it just requires the sensible use of cultural funding," he suggested. "In a crisis you always look at your budgets and you spend the money you have sensibly. We have a £120m cultural fund available: we need to start using it sensibly."