Music Venue Trust calls for pipeline fund to protect venues

live gig

Music Venue Trust (MVT) is urging key grassroots venues stakeholders to get behind a statement of intent proposing the creation of a pipeline investment fund within the UK music industry.

The charity unveiled the proposal at Venues Day on Wednesday (17 October), which is, ‘designed to move the conversation significantly forward on how best to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues for the benefit of grassroots artists.’

The statement of intent calls for an investment fund which would be administered by MVT and overseen by advisory boards from within the UK music industry.

Funds generated would be used to support activity in the grassroots sector of the music industry, including sound and lighting investments for venues, touring grants for emerging acts and the acquisition of the freehold of grassroots music venues.

Freehold ownership would ensure venues can be placed into protected ownership ‘and permanently leased back to local communities.’

Referring to the vital role that grassroots venues play, MVT chief executive Mark Davyd said: ‘Last week in parliament we heard directly from artist representatives who know this, and today at Venues Day we’ve heard repeatedly from artists demanding action to support the venues that are vital to their development.

‘We’ve heard a lot about what can’t be done, and what the obstacles are – let’s move past that. These discussions, some with positive results, haven’t resulted in the decisive direct action that is needed.

‘We have to restart this conversation from the basics, and move quickly to practical action everyone can support.’

The UK music industry is worth £4.4bn, but as MVT notes, UK grassroots music venues have been closed down ‘for the sake of £2,000 in legal fees, £10,000 of programming money, or £20,000 of infrastructure investment.’

Davyd added: ‘Less than 0.1 percent of the UK music economy invested into the grassroots would permanently end these problems.’

The pipeline investment fund statement of intent is being sent to all major stakeholders in the industry.

Read the statement of intent in full below:

We, the undersigned, are committed to the concept of the creation of a pipeline investment fund within the UK music industry. We agree that such a mechanism is vital to the sustainability of our grassroots touring network, which we consider is essential to the future health of the UK music industry.

Funds generated by the pipeline investment fund should be used to support activity in the grassroots sector of the music industry to include (but not limited to):

1) Investment into modern, sustainable sound and lighting for grassroots music venues to permanently reduce venue costs and increase profitability.
2) Acquisition of the freehold of grassroots music venues so that they can be placed into protected ownership and permanently leased back to local communities.
3) Support for new and emerging artist touring costs through a grant application process.
4) Creation of a training and apprenticeship programme for support roles within grassroots music venues.
5) Support for central legal, licensing and planning advice related to music venues, and for campaigns to ensure that future legislation recognises the economic, cultural and social value of those venues.

The fund would be administered by the established UK registered charity Music Venue Trust. The charity will establish advisory boards from within the UK music industry to guide and oversee its investments in each of the chosen areas. The charity will provide a full, annual, public report on all income and expenditure related to the pipeline investment fund.

We acknowledge that the creation of the pipeline investment fund requires consensus across the live music industry, from arenas, stadiums, concert halls, promoters, agents, managers and artists. In the event this consensus is reached, we are committed to delivering our agreement to this programme.