NEWS: Music Venue Trust announces latest recipients of Pipeline investment

NEWS: Music Venue Trust announces latest recipients of Pipeline investment

Thirteen Grassroots Music Venues across the UK have received grants from the charity, Music Venue Trust (MVT), as part of a third round of recipients for its major new funding initiative which provides grants of up to £5,000 for UK Grassroots Music Venues. This round saw £55,203.34 distributed across the UK to venues including Black Box -Belfast, Dubrek Studios-Derby, Esquires -Bedford ,Queens Hall -Narberth ,The Brunswick-Hove The Depo-Plymouth, The Exchange-Bristol ,The Fulford Arms -York ,The Loco Klub-Bristol, The Mill – Bradford, The Piper-St Leonards On Sea, Trinity -Bristol and Tunbridge Wells Forum.

The Pipeline Investment Fund was established in 2022 with the support of members of the Music Venues Alliance and was mainly funded by donations from ticket sales of MVT’s recent ‘Revive Live’ programme of gigs around the UK, which was a partnership with The National Lottery.

Small scale grant applications of up to £5,000 were invited from UK based Grassroots Music Venues to support Small scale capital projects; including lights, sound, access, ventilation and minor building alterations and Staff and Training; workforce diversification, succession planning, skills development and strengthening local community ties. Many of these contributions have allowed essential Grassroots Venues to keep their doors open.

Last month, Music Venue Trust released their 2022 Annual Report, which was launched at a reception for MPs at The House of Commons. The report details the immense contribution of Grassroots Music Venues to the UK economy, and the current threat they face as a result of the cost-of-living crisis and ongoing post-covid recovery.

MVT is calling on the government to review the VAT on ticket sales that is currently limiting profitability and crushing a sector responsible for nurturing new, upcoming talent in the UK – talent that goes on to define British culture and create huge profit for the industry.

The report also outlines plans to ensure all new arenas opening in the UK contribute to the wider music eco-system by investing a percentage of every ticket sale into Grassroots Venues. As, without the work of GMVs to nurture new talent, there will be no big artists to fill these venues in the coming years.

 In a recent Facebook Post, MVT wrote, “The people who saved Bedford Esquires (Grassroots Venue) are the incredible team that work there and the local community who support them, but we are pleased to have played a small role in ensuring that Esquires can carry on being one of the best venues in the country.

Music Venue Trust was able to chip in with the final £5,000 that they needed thanks to the support of our own network of Grassroots Music Venues. That final piece of the jigsaw means this venue can stay open.

One grassroots music venue is closing down every week because we don’t have £5,000 for every venue that needs it. That’s the difference between closure and survival in this case. £5000.

£5000 equates to just 50% of a a 50p contribution from a £100 ticket at a 20,000 capacity arena for just one night. 0.5% .We could help two venues to survive every time that one arena opens. There are 960 venues like Esquires in the UK, we could support every single one of them like this from just 50p, 0.5%, on just 480 shows.

There are 22 arenas in the UK, with a plan to build 8 more. Even 50 shows a year at each arena with this contribution on every ticket would create a fund with real impact. It would not only stop venues closing down, it would start to build back the circuit that artists and audiences need and deserve.

Football is getting an independent regulator because the key stakeholders cannot do the right thing and distribute the wealth within the game equitably enough to prevent small clubs from closing down and pitches being lost. At MVT, we honestly believe the live music industry can do better than that and that we don’t need a regulator to do the right thing.

Because a regulator wouldn’t say 0,5% is enough. A regulator would look around the world at the support that grassroots music venues attract. They would take their lead on what is required from France where exactly this type of fund is created by a 3% levy on every ticket. Not 50p per £100 ticket, £3. They would look at the companies paying that levy on every ticket and realise that those companies are all the same companies that aren’t currently making a contribution in the UK.

We don’t need a regulator to know that this cannot continue. We have proposed to the music industry a deal that features an affordable contribution from each ticket that we collectively control and that works. It would stop grassroots music venues closing down, create the investment needed, improve things for artists and audiences, and start to rebuild the sector everyone in the industry needs.

50p per ticket. Pick up the phone and let’s make it happen.

DJ Steve Lemacq agreed posting, ” If you’re looking for a practical solution to help safeguard the future of Britain’s crucial grassroots live circuit, please read” (the post above.)

The inaugural round of payments in December 2022 saw eleven Grassroots Music Venues receive £40,000, and a further fourteen were awarded almost £70,000 in January. This is the third round of payments and sees a total sum of £55,203 awarded to Grassroots Music Venues across the country. The fund prioritises support for organisations who may have been excluded from other available funding.

Music Venue Trust is still actively seeking further donations, particularly from the wider music industry, to maintain and expand the Pipeline Investment Fund and make it a permanent source of support for Grassroots Music Venues. Please contact [email protected] for details of how this work can be supported.

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