Trade body urges government to prioritise venue reopenings

Trade body urges government to prioritise venue reopenings

The UK Council of Music Makers (CMM) has called on the government and Arts Council England to prioritise the reopening of venues when distributing its support package for the arts.

The coalition, which comprises the Featured Artists Coalition, Ivors Academy, MMF, MPG and the Musicians' Union, has penned an open letter noting the "trickle-down potential" of the £1.57 billion fund. 

"It is beneficial to our wider industry - and its vast economic contribution - to encourage and fund music venues (and other businesses) to reopen safely, with limited capacity and following Covid-safe guidelines, rather than supporting continuing closures," reads the letter. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Friday that indoor live music performances can resume with social distancing in the UK from August 1. But Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd warned the restricted capacity element meant "significant subsidies will be required if this measure is to have any noticeable impact upon the number of shows actually taking place".

The positive effect of opening venues 'primes the pump' to allow money to move through the supply chain

UK Council of Music Makers

However, the letter continues: "CMM understands the support of infrastructure such as venues and festivals is key to aid the recovery and revitalisation of the music industry ecosystem and we urge you to implement this with consideration to the supply chain of such organisational funding recipients.

"The positive effect of opening venues ‘primes the pump’ to allow money to move through the supply chain. By doing this you can support the livelihoods of the live industry as a whole, including artists and their teams, tech and hospitality staff within venues. This also has the huge public benefit of bringing live music back to the people.

"Our collective memberships - musicians, songwriters, composers, producers, featured artists, and their managers are vital to this restart and looking holistically at how funding is best used, you must consider their all-important place within the ecosystem."

Signing off, the CMM concludes: "Funding mothballing of institutions serves to be counterproductive and much less beneficial for the wider economy than a subsidised restarting of economic activity. We call for this to be held in consideration when choosing to support organisations with this vital cultural fund."

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has warned the government that the UK grassroots scene requires an immediate £50 million cash injection to prevent mass closures in the coming months, while last week Association Of Independent Festivals chief Paul Reed told Music Week the UK’s festival business requires a £30m rescue pot

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