Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity which protects, secures and improves small independent venues, has launched two open source books to offer practical advice to the sector.
In partnership with Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, and Ticketmaster, the charity has commissioned writer David Pollock and photographer Jannica Honey to bring together two manuals: How to Open a Grassroots Music Venue and How to Run a Grassroots Music Venue.
The industry bibles are now available as downloadable PDFs from both the MVT website (links below).
Each book contains 15 chapters, including topics such as licensing, company structure, what facilities need to be provided and ideas for diversifying what they offer.
This guidance is supported by interviews with some of the people who run the UK’s top grassroots venues, who share stories of success as well as some cautionary tales.
A guidance section at the back of the books is complemented by cross-referencing with online resources on the Music Venue Trust website.
Mark Davyd, chief executive of MVT, said: ‘When I was 17, I put on my first gig and over the next 10 years I met lots of other likeminded people who wanted to do the same. Eventually, after five years of trying, we got together and opened our own venue. Nobody ever gave us advice, and we must have made every mistake possible.
‘Most people I know in the grassroots music sector have a similar story, which is why we wanted to publish these guides. We want these books to inspire people to join us and open their own venues and the message is simple: you can build a stage the band doesn’t fall through, you can get a licence that doesn’t prevent you from opening on a Wednesday, and you can avoid having to rebuild the venue from scratch, only this time with enough doors.’
Rou Reynolds Enter Shikari’s Rou Reynolds, an MVT patron, added: ‘Grassroots music venues are vital spaces for musicians, music fans and communities in general. It’s been a tough time for venues up and down the country over the past few years and there’s been no government support.
‘It’s great that MVT has launched these new books, sharing the knowledge and experience of those who run the venues that are surviving and shining a spotlight on the touring circuit. I think it could help encourage the opening of new venues and support networks.’
The books can be downloaded from: