Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity that works to secure the future of the UK’s grassroots music venues, has announced five new patrons.
BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, Charlotte Brimner (Be Charlotte), Elbow, Rhoda Dakar and Bright Light Bright Light have added their voices to support the charity’s work.
Guy Garvey from Elbow said: ‘Without these pubs and clubs, musicians don’t develop. They don’t get a taste of what it would be like to live as a full-time musician.
‘And without musicians you’ve got no new music and without new music it’s a very bland and shitty world. So that’s why we support Music Venue Trust.
‘Because everyone needs a place to start out and you also need to learn how to be in an audience and a lot of small venues are the first ones that people visit as a music lover.’
Long-term MVT supporter Steve Lamacq spoke of the importance of towns being able to retain independent thought and spirit: ‘There’s all this amazing music and art which needs a place to go.
‘It might be new music, it might be niche music, but it deserves to be seen and heard. I think it’s critical that we encourage people who go against the grain or experiment and give them a space.
‘I applaud the Music Venue Trust for taking on this job. Socially, culturally, creatively, we need venues.’
Rhoda Dakar, best known as the lead singer of The Bodysnatchers, said: ‘Venue facilities are often woefully short of what is on offer in Europe. The industry has made money, but this has almost never been reinvested into the grassroots.
‘And there’s absolutely nothing from the Arts Council. We trade on the cultural capital of popular music, but seem to feel musicians do better if mistreated.
‘I’m still offered sub-standard dressing rooms, as if it were some sort of rite of passage. Give us the opportunity to do good work and we will.’
Songwriter and performer Charlotte Brimner spoke about her early experiences playing local open mic nights near Dundee, saying: ‘Being able to develop skills in small venues around Scotland inspired me to take my live show all over the world.
‘I don’t want to imagine a music scene without grassroots venues at the heart of it, and that’s why I’m so excited to be a patron of Music Venue Trust.’
Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, added: ‘Grassroots venues are probably the most important thing in the music industry in the UK.
‘Every music fan you can imagine has a “I remember seeing [this huge band] back at my local venue and I can’t believe how huge they are now” story – and that’s such a big part of the magic of live music.’
‘Britain has so much talent, and there’s no way for that to shine without the initial platform that these venues provide.’