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New venture aims to open grassroots venue network

NXT News & Features
19 September 2018

FORMER MUSE tour director Glen Rowe is seeking support for his charitable NEKO Trust, formerly known as Cato Trust, which hopes will begin opening new small-capacity
venues across the country in 2020.

Cato, which was set up in 2005 and ran a scheme collecting donations from people on concert guest lists and paid the money to charities named by the performing artiste, changed the name after Rowe’s production business Cato Music was sold to Production Park in 2016.

Rowe’s plan involves ultimately creating a network of grassroots venues partially staffed by young people hoping to learn a live music-related trade, such as sound mixing on stage lighting, and get a start in the industry.

“There needs to be an investment made in the new generations of acts, many of whom are struggling to find a footing in live music, because there’s just no venues for them to play at all,” he says.

“I want to see our venues hiring students from music colleges, so they’re still studying while getting on-the-job training – it works out well for everyone, and they can then train-up the next wave of students and so on.”

Rowe adds that crucial elements of the project will need to be tackled by additional help from specific sectors.

“Support and goodwill has been overwhelming so far, and it’s clear to me that a lot of people have been waiting for something like this to get behind,” he says.

“At the moment though it’s being funded directly by me, and we’ll need collaboration with other institutes, businesses and industry professionals to keep things moving.”

While no specific announcements have been made, it is understood the first venue will open in London, with Birmingham and Cardiff also earmarked as target cities.

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