Leading music figures head to Westminster to save venues

Sir Paul McCartney

The likes of Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason, Sandie Shaw, Nadine Shah, Imogen Heap, Billy Bragg and Everything Everything’s Jeremy Pritchard will launch a parliamentary battle this morning (10 January) at Westminster to save music venues from closure.

The leading music figures are gathering outside the Houses of Parliament at 11am in support of Labour MP John Spellar, who will table his Agent of Change Bill in the House of Commons today.

The campaign to get the Agent of Change principle enshrined in law to protect venues is spearheaded by UK Music and has the backing of at least 75 MPs and peers, plus organisations including the Music Venue Trust and the Musicians’ Union.

Other supporters of the campaign include Sir Paul McCartney (pictured), Brian Eno, Chrissie Hynde, Ray Davies, Feargal Sharkey and Craig David.

McCartney said: ‘Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues, my career could have been very different. If we don’t support music at this level, then the future of music in general is in danger.”

Chrissie Hynde spoke of the influence that small venues play in nurturing talent, saying: ‘It isn’t talent shows on television or theatre schools that propagate great music, it’s small venues.

‘They’re the setting of everything great that’s come out of the music scene in this country, from the Beatles to Oasis and beyond.

‘If small venues shut down, so will England’s unique creative output.’

Craig David added: ‘As an artist, I’m concerned that music venues are facing unprecedented threats and it is a matter of great concern to us all. I give my strong support for proposals to change planning law so that we can keep music live.’

Over the past decade, 35 percent of UK music venues have closed, including The Free Trade Hall in Manchester which played host to the Sex Pistols and Bob Dylan, and The Boardwalk in Sheffield which saw the debut of The Clash and the Arctic Monkeys.

The proposed legislation would require developers to take into account the impact of their project on pre-existing businesses such as music venues, before going ahead with their plans.

New developers could also be responsible for funding extra soundproofing for music venues to avoid noise complaints from new neighbours.

UK Music Chief Executive Michael Dugher said: ‘The UK music industry contributes more than £4bn to our economy and brings pleasure to millions of people at home and overseas.

‘It’s time for the Government to get behind the legislation and help save the venues that are such a crucial part of the music industry.’