UK Live Music Facing Financial Ruin: Music Venue Trust Calls For Urgent £50m Government Aid To Prevent Mass Closures

The Music Venue Trust is desperately calling on the Government for an emergency £50m in aid as live music venues face financial ruin in coming months despite huge public donations.

Who loses if this doesn’t happen? Not just the venues, not just the artists, not just the audiences, not just our communities. The government is the biggest loser of all here; billions of pounds of future tax revenues is on the line. Every other serious cultural country in the world is acting to protect its future talent pipeline…. and they don’t even have the incredible talent and the vibrant pipeline we have in the UK. We need our government to step up we need them to do it now.”

Mark Davyd
Chief Executive
Music Venue Trust

Since live music venues saw their doors shut in March due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent lockdown regulations required for public health and safety: the Music Venue Trust – a charity that represents hundreds of Grassroots venues across the UK – have been tirelessly fighting for the survival of independent venues as they face imminent closure due to financial ruin, with the cultural sector in particular being hit by severe economic woes.

With the launch of their #SaveOurVenues campaign earlier in the year, MVT have been working exceptionally hard to secure the futures of grassroots venues across the UK, passing a whopping £2m mark in donations (at time of writing this article) after launching their Crisis Fund for live music venues that have been hit the hardest. This Crisis Fund has allowed the charity to temporarily save 140 music venues from closure, but unfortunately, even as lockdown restrictions ease – it’s unlikely live music venues will be opening anytime soon.

First reported by The Guardian following a new survey by MVT: while 89% of people are “very eager” to return to live music gigs, only 36% would feel comfortable doing so – especially considering that only 13% of venues would be able to adhere to the government’s regulation of 2 metre physical distancing – and of those, 96% said it would be “financially ruinous” with radically reduced numbers of attendees.

With this new information, the state of grassroots live music venues survival over the next few months – July and August specifically – is in dire straights, and the MVT is calling on the UK government for an urgent cash injection of £50m in order to keep the independent live music industry alive.

On the official MVT website, Davyd detailed the need for the emergency £50m assistance from the government in a statement:

When we eventually emerge from lockdown, Grassroots Music Venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2 billion per year industry has been built, are going to be essential to live music bouncing back. It is therefore economically short sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50 million investment.

The generosity shown towards our #saveourvenues campaign since we launched it in April has been staggering. The £2m we have raised to date has saved literally hundreds of venues in the short term, but the situation is still dire and relying on donations simply isn’t sustainable as we move into a recovery phase. With that in mind let’s act now and protect what we have, because what we have is incredible and it is ridiculous to put ourselves in the position where we might permanently lose it for less than 1% of the income it generates for us every single year. £50 million in financial support and a temporary tax cut, that’s all we are asking.

Mark Davyd
MVT Chief Executive

(See introduction of article for final paragraph of this statement)

Check out the official MVT website for more information on their work, ways in which you can help – along with ways in which you may be able to receive help if your livelihood in the music industry has been affected by the pandemic. Please be sure to support MVT as much as possible as we fight for the future of independent venues and live music in the UK.

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