Music Venue Trust Open Letter to UK Government Is A Desperate Attempt to Save the Country’s Grassroots Venue
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on various industries worldwide, with the entertainment and music sector bearing a significant brunt of its impact. With gigs canceled, festivals postponed, and venues shut down indefinitely, the music industry, especially grassroots venues, is in dire need of support to survive. In a desperate attempt to save these vital cultural spaces, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) has penned an open letter to the UK government, urging immediate action.
MVT represents over 900 music venues across the country and has been advocating for their survival since its inception in 2014. However, the organization warns that these venues are now on the brink of collapse due to the pandemic’s economic fallout. The consequences of their closure would be disastrous, not only for the music industry but also for local communities, emerging talent, and the artistic fabric of the nation.
The open letter highlights the urgent need for the government to step in and provide financial assistance specifically tailored to grassroots venues. Unlike larger arenas and theaters, these grassroots venues do not have the financial backing or support of major corporations. They rely heavily on ticket sales, bar revenue, and independent promoters to keep their doors open. Unfortunately, these revenue streams have completely dried up since the start of the pandemic, leaving these venues in a perilous state.
The MVT’s open letter outlines several key requests to help secure the future of grassroots venues. First and foremost, they call for a £50 million Cultural Recovery Fund to support these at-risk venues. This money would not only ensure their survival but also go towards reestablishing the music ecosystem, offering hope for artists, audiences, and the industry as a whole.
Moreover, the MVT emphasizes the need for capital investment and sensible business rates relief. Many grassroots venues could benefit greatly from refurbishment or safety improvements, and this could be achieved through government-funded grants or loans. Additionally, an ongoing reduction in business rates would drastically alleviate the financial burden on these venues, allowing them to invest in their future without compromising their immediate survival.
The open letter also stresses the importance of a clear and well-coordinated plan for reopening live music venues. As lockdown restrictions ease, it is crucial that venues receive guidance and support to ensure the safe return of live music experiences. This will involve collaboration between the government, health officials, and the music industry to develop comprehensive safety protocols that meet public health requirements while preserving the essence of live music events.
Grassroots music venues are the beating heart of the music industry. They provide a platform for emerging artists to hone their craft, build a fanbase, and pave their way to success. Without them, the future of music would be in serious jeopardy, and countless careers would never reach their potential. The Music Venue Trust’s open letter serves as a desperate plea, but also a powerful reminder of the essential role these venues play in our cultural landscape.
The UK government must acknowledge the plight of grassroots music venues and understand that their continued existence is crucial for the music industry’s recovery. Immediate action is needed to secure their survival and protect the future of live music in the country. By responding to the MVT’s open letter and providing the necessary financial assistance and support, the government can ensure that these vibrant cultural spaces not only survive but thrive once again.