New funding launches for grassroots venues

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Arts Council England has announced a £1.5m funding pot for grassroots music venues and promoters.

The Supporting Grassroots Live Music funding strand was officially launched at The Great Escape today (Friday), in an event co-hosted by Arts Council England, Music Venue Trust and Ticketmaster.

Music Venue Trust and Arts Council England will be working together to assist venues to access this funding, helping ensure improvements are made to the sound, lighting and facilities for both artists and audiences.

Alongside the new scheme, Music Venue Trust announced the first steps in funding from the live music industry to directly support grassroots music venues.

The organisation revealed that it has been meeting with representatives from across the industry since January to identify mechanisms for reinvestment in the venues which act as the research and development department of the industry.

Major actions agreed so far include: use of apprenticeship levy funds to support apprentices in grassroots music venues, guest list donations at major events and venues to support improvements at venues, donation options on ticketing across a huge number of events, and direct donations from major companies to support the Music Venue Trust’s emergency response service, which rescues venues from noise complaints, licensing and planning issues.

Mark Davyd, chief executive of Music Venue Trust, said: ‘This is obviously a huge day for grassroots music venues. The real support they need and have been crying out for has arrived.

‘We want to ensure that venues across the UK are able to access the support they need to become real centres of excellence. Britain’s artists and audiences deserve world class, industry leading, grassroots touring circuit. Delivering that circuit is the responsibility of everyone in the music industry, cultural sector, and government.

‘That doesn’t stop with the live music industry and cultural partners making these fantastic announcements today. Labels, publishers, streaming services, we believe everyone has a stake in getting this right. When our grassroots music venues thrive, the whole industry benefits.’

Darren Henley, chief executive of Arts Council England, added: ‘Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them.

‘With this fund we’re ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters working in genres such as rock, pop and hip-hop have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences.’