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ACE announces more funding for independent venues

NXT News & Features
14 February 2020

ARTS COUNCIL England (ACE) is planning to pump another £1.5 million into the grassroots music sector until March 2021.

This is the second round of funding ACE has allocated to the sector, following the launch of the £1.5 million Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund in May 2019.

So far, ACE has made 70 awards totaling £1.2m to venues including

The Macbeth (cap. 300) in London, Hare and Hounds (400) in Birmingham, The Louisiana (140) in Bristol, The Independent (450) in Sunderland and The Smokehouse (88) in Ipswich.

“This investment, alongside other Arts Council project-funded initiatives, plays an important part in helping the grassroots music sector become more resilient and sustainable,” says ACE chief executive Darren Henley.

“Though there is still work to be done, we hope this additional £1.5m – along with the government’s recently announced business rate reductions for venues in England – will enable many more venues and promoters to thrive within their communities.”

Independent Venue Week founder Sybil Bell says, “It’s such fantastic news that this vitally important fund is being made available again. The difference these grants can make to these small, mostly independently-owned local businesses is game-changing.

“We helped support some venues with their successful applications in the last round of funding and we’re here to help many more for the coming period.”

The venues can apply for funding for anything from improving facilities to experimental programming, and reaching out to new audiences and talent.

The Sugarmill (cap. 400) in Stoke-on-Trent is among the venues that have already benefitted from the fund, as well as support from Music Venues Trust, Whitelight and d&b audiotecknik.

“We’re ecstatic to be able to provide a better-quality experience for artistes and audiences,” says Sugarmill promoter Danni Brownsill. “Now, we’ll be able to diversify our programming and develop new audiences.

“We’re also delighted to be partnering with local educators to allow students to come in and train to be the next generation of sound engineers, lighting techs and stage managers, now we’ll have a system that is more of an industry standard.”

The venue has played host to artistes including Coldplay, Muse and Daft Punk in their early careers.

Applications for ACE grants between £1,000 and £40,000 are open until March 2021.

The remaining funds in the first round of investment will be awarded by this April.

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