Broadcaster Steve Lamacq has said the whole music industry should acknowledge the vital role of grassroots venues and give something back to help support them.
The BBC Radio 6 Music DJ made the comments at the third annual Venues Day at the Roundhouse, London, yesterday (18 October).
He said: ‘It would be brilliant if the whole music industry said, “Actually, we’ve abused [this sector] for years so we’re going to put some money in, put some bands out, we’re going to give something back, we’re going to advertise it, throw open the doors for a week…”
Lamacq went on to acknowledge the role of Independent Venue Week, but argued that the industry should do more to raise the profile of grassroots venues with the public and campaign on their behalf.
He said that the BBC now has contacts at venues around the country, as these places are ‘among the last few arbiters of taste’ he trusts.
‘I know there are bands you put on to get people through the door, like tribute acts, but there will be one or two bands you put on every month knowing hardly anyone will come but because you love the bands,’ he explained.
‘It’s an important role that you play. You’re the people who see the bands before anyone else, the A&R or anybody… People around the industry should wake up to that. If we could get some campaign going, I’d cheerfully give up hours of my time for sod all to help get more people into venues. Let’s explain why we do what we do and let’s explain how exciting it is.’
Lamacq took part in the keynote panel, Building on Progress, alongside Jo Dipple (UK Music), Rt Hon Ed Vaizey MP, Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust), alongside Laura Dyer (Arts Council England) and Lord Tim Clement-Jones.
Venues Day, organised by Music Venue Trust, gathers representatives from grassroots venues around the UK to discuss sector challenges and promote collaboration with the wider music industry.