Dedicated to the Business of Contemporary Live Music

Small venues hope to benefit from Government’s £1.57 billion

11 July 2020

GRASSROOTS VENUES’ campaigner Music Venue Trust (MVT) is hailing the Government’s £1.57 billion funding for cultural and arts organisations affected by the Covid-19 lockdown as a triumph for the sector,

The Trust’s website posts the news under an archive image of pub-goers holding a sign altered to say “We Win! MVT”.

While Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement says the money will help “gigs performed in basement venues”, it is not yet clear how much of the funding will go to grassroots venues or to the wider contemporary live music market. Theatres, museums, art galleries, English Heritage and other non-musical culture are also in line for a share.

The new funding follows an appeal by MVT for £50 million of government funding to support the grassroots sector.

But some industry observers remain confused by the MVT’s various statements about the number of venues it represents, those it says are under threat of permanent closure, the amount it has raised and how much will be paid direct to venues (see last month’s LIVE UK).

When making its £50m appeal, MVT said it spoke for 800 grassroots venues, up from 692 a couple of weeks earlier. It also says 90 per cent of the venues it represents are faced with permanent closure, while its #saveourvenues (#SOV) campaign puts the number at 556, of which 140 have already been declared ‘out of risk’, thanks to the campaign. 

Meanwhile, its website states that ‘more than 400’ venues are at imminent risk of permanent closure, while an interactive map links to #SOV crowdfunding campaigns for just 178. Venues passing their target figure pay the excess to MVT.

LIVE UK is unable to obtain clarification, as MVT CEO Mark Davyd and strategic director Beverley Whitrick refuse to answer queries from this publication. “We don’t talk or comment to LIVE UK magazine,” says Davyd.

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