The O2's Emma Bownes among new board members at Music Venue Trust

The O2's Emma Bownes among new board members at Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust has announced the addition of four members to its board of trustees. 

The organisation said the appointments reflect MVT's commitment to “maintaining a diverse and experienced team, essential for guiding its mission and ensuring the well-being of the live music ecosystem”.

The following individuals have joined MVT's Board of Trustees:

Arusa Qureshi – A freelance writer and editor who was recently appointed music programme manager at Summerhall in Edinburgh.

Emma Bownes – VP, venue programming at The O2 arena.

Jane Beese – director of music, Factory International.

Rhoda Dakar – Musician.

Arusa Qureshi said: “Grassroots venues have been instrumental to my personal journey, and I’m delighted to be joining the board of the MVT to act as a cheerleader for these vital spaces.”

Emma Bownes, who has a wealth of experience in both independent and large-scale venues, said: “My aim in working with the Music Venue Trust is to try and support smaller, grassroots venues with programming and ultimately to try and help them avoid closure.”

Jane Beese, a longtime supporter of MVT, said: “We need to work even harder to unite the live sector to recognize its survival as an ecosystem relies on cooperation and a fair distribution of wealth.”

Rhoda Dakar,  a seasoned musician who fronted ska act The Bodysnatchers, has been a patron of MVT for years and, more recently, a trustee of sister organisation Music Venue Properties. 

“My skill set is now more useful to MVT, as I am a working musician and have been part of national campaigns over many years,” said Dakar.

They join existing trustees Bonita McKinney, Phyllis Belezos (co-chairs of the board), Scott Taylforth (treasurer), Chris Prosser, Simon Hilton, Sarah Thirtle, Jason Dorman and Jeremy Pritchard.

Bonita McKinney and Phyllis Belezos said: “We’re delighted to welcome Arusa, Jane, Emma, and Rhoda to the MVT board. Their vast array of skills and experience are very welcome and appreciated, especially as 2024 is looking to be an even more difficult year for our GMV members.”

Sarah Clover KC and Lohan Presencer have stepped down from the board after many years of service. 

PHOTO: (L-R) Rhoda Dakar, Jane Beese, Emma Bownes and Arusa Qureshi


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