I wanted to tell a story you about our experience.

It was back around this time of year in 2009. A letter arrived on the reception desk addressed to ‘The Occupier’. And it was just one of those standard planning-notice applications; that a planning application had gone in for a residential tower block that was going to be built. As you can see, as you came in through the gate, just opposite our building. The old 1960’s office building was going to be demolished and they were going to put up a 41-storey, 300-residential-unit – residential tower block – which would be home to 1,000 people. And it was going to have balconies overlooking our courtyard and our queue, and opening windows. And we spiralled into a complete panic. We thought: “Oh my God, what do we do?”

So, we started making some enquiries and we had a look at Southwark’s Regeneration Plan, which interestingly had neglected to mark us on the map. Despite the fact we’d been here for 20 years and 5,000 people were coming here every weekend, nobody had noticed that we were here. Probably because it was dark.

And then I contacted the developer and said to him: “Look, we have got an issue with this.”

And he said to me: “Look you can’t possibly hope to stand in the way of regeneration in Southwark, and Elephant and Castle. Nightclubs come and go.”

I went: “OK, but we are not just a nightclub. We are a nightclub that then became a record company and an international brand business. And we’ve got 200 staff who work here, many of whom live in Southwark. And they are young people and we are developing exciting young British talent. London talent. You know? And we are more important then that.”

He said: ”No, no, no, no, no. I am going to build my block of flats and there is nothing that you can do about it. And the council are on my side.”

So we went: “OK, well, this is clearly war!”

And, because we are a well-resourced business, and we are a big company, and we do employ a couple of hundred people and we’ve got some cash, we hired planning consultants. And we hired lawyers. And we hired PR people. And we spent the next two years working up our case. And trying to understand the planning system. Because, look, we are a music venue. We are a media owner. We are a record company. We don’t know anything about planning. And we had to work out what our arguments were and eventually their application went to Planning Committee, having been delayed several times because we were throwing bricks at them all the way through, and it went to Planning Committee two years later – and it got rejected.

So we were euphoric. In fact, we came down here to celebrate that night. It was quite exciting. Only for, three months later, us to be told that it had been ‘called in’ by the Mayor.

Now… So, again, we are learning. We are thinking on our feet. Well, what is a ‘call in’? Well, up until that point only four previous planning applications had been ‘called in’ by the Mayor.

It was a new law. It was a new ability that Ken [Livingstone] had introduced but Boris [Johnson] had inherited. They had ‘called in’ four planning applications that had been rejected and they were subsequently turned over and approved. So we knew what this meant. And it had been ‘called in’ because the developer had spent a lot of money hiring expensive lobbyists, and PR agents, and doing things to try and protect his investment.

We then spent the next two years on more lawyers, and more PR people, and different types of lobbyists. Because we were now lobbying the GLA to try and protect our venue.

We are about 1.2 million pounds in fees in, at this point. Until our team told us: “Look, you’re not going to win this. You’re not going to stop this from happening. Housing trumps music venues every time.”

So we went to the GLA and said: “Well, how can we find a solution that works for both of us? How can you get your housing but how can we be protected?” And our team came up with a clever idea called a ‘Deed of Easement’.

Firstly, we asked that all the balconies be removed, all the windows be sealed, and proper glazing be put in.

But we also asked for an agreement to be signed that will allow us to continue to operate our business in the responsible way that we had done for the previous 20 years, making the noise that we had always made. And Boris supported that. And the developer was made to sign that. And we were given the effective protection that we needed to ensure our future going forward.

So, the developer was the Agent of Change – the person that was made responsible for protecting the usage that was here beforehand. Because, up until that point, the fact that you were there first had no bearing on your situation. Because residents move in, complain and their concerns trump yours.

So the fact that the GLA has now adopted the Agent of Change as a principle for the London Plan, which I am sure they are going to talk about later, is a fantastic result for all of us and I hope it becomes something that is widely adopted throughout the country.

So, throughout the course of the day, you are going to get the opportunity to hear from distinguished members of government and the industry. Please push them in the way that we did, so that you don’t have to spend the money that we did, to get the protection that we needed and that you need.

So, thank you very much and thank you for coming to Ministry of Sound.

Panel – The Big Issues – Big Issues For Small Venues

Well, first of all I want to say it’s great to be here.

And I came to the meeting, I suppose, which sort of established the Music Venue Trust, if that’s fair, when people came to Parliament just before the last election. And I’ve since had a meeting with Mark to discuss some of the issues that have come out of… You know… That are arising from this debate. I think that the report, which I’ve got here, is fantastic.

I said, at the time, that I thought the Music Venue Trust was a brilliant initiative – because it gives, in effect, one voice to music venues. I hope it is the one voice for music venues. That there aren’t lots of different, other groups that claim to be the voice of music venues. That everyone is working together.

And I think the report is brilliant. It is very clear and very effective. I think, when it comes to government intervention to support music venues, a lot of the tone of the report is about co-operation and working together.

So, for example, the idea of a Night Mayor, which I like. I like the idea of running to be a Night Mayor in future elections. But that… Somebody who is looking at the evening economy, as it were. The idea of a Music Venues Board that brings together the various stake holders.

So, I think, underlining a lot of the challenges that face music venues is the need for mechanisms to bring together the various stakeholders – whether it’s local authorities, mayors, licensing authorities, the police and so on – to implement policies in a much more pragmatic way. And to recognise the way that music venues contribute to our cultural scene.

I also (something that isn’t in the report but I was very taken with when we had a discussion) is that I do think it’s a challenge – a wider challenge – and the Arts Council may want to comment on this – I think it is perfectly legitimate to say, when we focus in terms of cultural policy on supporting regional theatres or Performing Arts venues as sort of archetypal subsidised arts venues, that music venues should not feel shy to be included within that ecology.

A vibrant music venue which is breaking new acts, I think, has just as much right to be considered a cultural venue as a vibrant local or regional theatre that is breaking new plays and new actors.

I think, in terms of direct government intervention, there’s obviously a big ask, if you like, in terms of business rates. We’ve obviously focused on trying to keep business rates low and there are schemes available which give local authorities the flexibility to reduce business rates. We are conducting a business rate review. And the asks of the Music Venue Trust will be fed into that review. And also there’s been a big announcement about business rates by the chancellors, I am sure you are aware, which is this idea of devolving business rates down to local councils to allow them to keep the business rates that they generate. So that will be another factor that we have to consider.

On licensing, I can see Tim Clement-Jones, the Liberal Democrat peer, in the front row. He was very instrumental in the last Government in changing the licensing laws to increase the exemptions for larger live music venues from, I think, it was from 200 to 500. And Tim may want to speak from the floor later on, because I know this is a subject that he is passionate about. The tone of this report appears to be about the… We obviously wanted to make licensing laws as flexible and unburdensome as possible and the tone of the report appears to be about how the licensing laws are applied in principle.

And then, I think, the third biggest issue is obviously planning laws themselves. And you heard, earlier, from the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Sound about the battle they had with a local developer and the money they had to spend, and this call for an Agent of Change principle. We are looking at the Agent of Change principle. We’ve looked at how it works in Australia.

At the moment, planning policies (as I think the report makes clear) do take account of the needs of live venues and they do ask planning authorities to take into consideration, when considering planning applications, the impact of a development on a live venue. And the local authority does have the power to impose conditions. And I certainly know that the Planning Minister, Brandon Lewis, is very keen to hear about specific examples. He’s keen to engage with local councils if he thinks… If you can show him evidence – and that’s not put in an aggressive way – if you have the evidence, he has an open door to say if you think a local council is not using what we think are existing powers where they can put conditions on a development that is coming next to a venue.

I think we may stray into the wider music scene. We are passionate supporters of live music. The Arts Council itself has moved into supporting music more directly, supporting new acts. As well as our music export fund which allows… Which funds the opportunity for bands to go abroad and achieve wider audiences. So I am open to any thoughts or proposals on a wider agenda than that.

But I’m really happy that the Music Venue Trust is up and running. I think this is a very, very good report indeed. It’s a textbook example of how to put together a series of asks and I am very pleased to see so many people here at the venue today.

OK. Thank you Jo. And you’re absolutely right to begin really with the crisis that is affecting small music venues – not just here in London but across the country.

Now, the figures I saw for London, of 430 music venues that traded in London between 2007, only 245 are still open. So I think we have got to start with admitting that there is a big problem. And I think the Music Venue Trust, as Ed has said, has done a fantastic job. It’s a great report. I think we should look really closely at the recommendations that are contained in that report, because I think we do need actually a national strategy. Not just one for London, I think we need a national strategy and I think that has got to be driven by central government.

I think, first of all, let’s acknowledge the importance of small music venues. Not just in terms of our… To the music industry – to cultural life – but actually in pounds, shillings and pence. To the economy. You know? It’s a hugely importance national asset in terms of the contribution they make to the creative industries. So… There are lots of difficult decisions taken when it comes to spending, absolutely, but let’s also factor in, you know, what those venues bring in economic terms as well.

John Whittingdale, who’s the Secretary of State, who I shadow, recently told the conference, he said there were… He rightly made a speech about how good the UK music industry was and he said there were no German Beatles. And that’s absolutely right – they were all English. No, we’ve checked it. They were from Liverpool, actually. We have looked in to this. And they were definitely not German.

But one thing that did occur to me – I was thinking about this – and, actually, in truth, without small venues in Germany, there would have been no Beatles. Because they went from being described as that bum group from Liverpool to being a band that was about to take the world by storm and, eventually, play Shea Stadium. They, like every other band, started in small venues. And they made their sound in the Indra and the Kaiserkeller in Hamburg. And then they went back to Liverpool and it was another small venue, The Cavern in Mathew street, in Liverpool where they made their sound. And that is a story that’s replicated. Every big band that you could name can highlight a small venue where they really made their sound and that made the band.

I’m patron of a music festival called ‘Live in Barnsley’, which you’ll be amazed to learn is in Barnsley. And it’s basically a metropolitan festival so it’s… In the main – there’s the odd theatre and one or two other, different venues – but it’s mainly pubs and clubs in the town centre. Only started three years ago and it’s been a fantastic success. They get 5,000 people coming into the town centre, who would not be coming into the town centre at 12 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon, and spending lots of money and having a great time all day.

But as well as the economic contribution, we… I was struck recently – we made Feargal Sharkey patron of the festival. It’s fair to say he got slightly more publicity when he became patron then when I became patron. [Off camera: “That’s a scandal”] I know. So, mate, I’m working on it. And he was asked by the, sort of, throngs of the media gathered there from the Barnsley Chronicle. They said: “Why have you agreed to be patron of this music festival, Live in Barnsley?”

And he told a story about how, when he first started in The Undertones… He said: “You know, when we first started and we couldn’t really play that well.” He said: “Well actually, when we couldn’t really play at all.” He said: “There was a club called The Casbah that let us play. And they started off letting us play occasionally and then, as we could play a bit more, they gave us residency.” And, of course, that’s where, you know, the first album, the first songs and everything came from. But he said: “Everything that I’ve enjoyed in the music industry in all these years since was because someone, somewhere, in a small music venue, gave me a stage. Gave that band a stage and, in doing so, gave a platform for us to develop our sound – to develop our talent – and go on and be so successful.”

So this is really, really important.

And I think that there’s a real danger that we lose that as these small music venues are closing. But also I think we do not want music, in this country, to be dominated just by the big gigs, with the big price tags. Because that is no good in terms of access to music for people in this country, either.

So what we are doing today is really, really important in kickstarting this debate and, hopefully, we can turn that into some real action.

The things that I think we need – some of the points that Ed’s touched on – this point about ‘Agent for Change’. We heard about the dispute between the Ministry of Sound and the local authority. I think, you know, whoever is there first should count for something. And that shouldn’t be a matter of discretion. It shouldn’t be based, if you have got a decent local authority who is interested in this… There was a huge dispute in Bristol recently, which they lost despite doing the right thing. This should be something that happens across the country. So this ‘Agent for Change’ principle, I think, should apply across the whole of the country. The government can do that. There is a planning bill going through parliament, you know, that might be a mechanism for doing that. But I really think that it is something that would make an important difference.

In terms of subsidies, the Arts Council England spend 1.6 billion pounds from now until 2018. They would like more money. It is still a significant amount of money. Now, how that money is spent is also significant and Ed touched on this. If theatres can access that kind of money, then why couldn’t small music venues. You know? We give money to opera houses and all kinds of things. And – you know – I am totally with the opera house. But, there are a lot of small music venues that are the kind of things that my constituents do use. And I think why shouldn’t they get – you know – some support as well in terms of public money as well.

Also, creative sector tax breaks. I think that has been enormously successful in the film industry, orchestras… That is something, I think, should be looked at in terms of small music venues. Ed made the point about business rates. Again, very, very important. But, also, tourism as well. So if you look at… I sort of started with the Beatles and I’ll finished with them, as I generally do.

But, in Liverpool, they reckon something like 70 million quid they get every year into their city economy by using their musical heritage as a draw for tourism. I think we could do a lot better in London. But we could do a lot better in Manchester and other parts of the country as well. And I think, actually, boosting tourism based on music heritage in lots of different parts of the country could be another measure.

So, I think, they are just some of the ideas, I think… But what we need is that national strategy to reverse what I’m afraid to say is a national decline. Thank you.

Yeah. It might be a surprise to have someone here represent the record labels. Music venues aren’t really our business, albeit… Many of you will know that record labels now sometimes in deals that have an interest in the live business of an act. But, the reason I am here is because it is partly reflected in the work we do through UK Music. Everybody in the music industry is getting more conscious that we are an ecology.

So I represent record labels including the three major record labels, but also 350 independent labels, from the smallest to the largest. And, as we talk about what makes the UK so successful, why is it that one in seven records sold round the world last year was British? It’s not an accident. And there are a whole series of reasons why we’re so great at music – and one of them is the BBC. So Jo and I were at an event in Parliament last week talking about the role that the BBC plays in helping to develop talent in this country, which is tremendously important.

But another reason is music venues.

We’ve had an incredibly vibrant scene in the UK – in many cities round the UK – that’s helped artists to develop their craft, build their fanbases, connect with an audience and that is the first part.

You know, there’s a great quote in the Mayor’s report from Ed Sheeran. About how he got going. Just badgering venues to play – and that’s fundamental. Someone who wants to be a successful musician – who goes on to be an Ed Sheeran – they’ve got to be an unbelievable live performer. They’ve got to work to grow their own fanbase and yeah, they need the support of a record label… But the live music scene is an intrinsic part of going on to be a successful recording artist. So I think this point about having a successful ecology means that, as BPI, we really worry about the closures that we’ve seen of music venues and what that’s going to do to the pipeline of talent in this country.

And I also think that the debate around this… It’s been much too much characterised by: Oh, you know, there’s a problem here. It’s like, there’s a problem with noise. There’s a problem with nightclubs. Lohan was very eloquent about the issues they had here with Ministry of Sound – and I think that is the wrong way of looking at it.

I think, increasingly, what we have here is a huge opportunity. And, as BPI, I hope we are going to be able to help support UK Music and the others in trying to quantify that opportunity. Because, when you look at cities who’ve looked at the contribution that live music makes to the vibrancy of the culture – but also the economic growth and the vitality of the communities in a city – you realise that there’s a huge opportunity if we can do the things that Michael and Ed were talking about. Get Agent of Change in place. Address business rates, which are unrealistically high for many live venues – particularly the smaller venues.

If we can deal with issues like that, then cities – or local areas in cities – become attractive places to live. And… They have a lot going on. Young people want move in. That helps property values. And you can actually see that it creates opportunities for development. And it improves the local economy. And, I think, if we can put some numbers behind that, then, hopefully, you know, we can do a lot more in terms of changing policy – to make sure that venues become an opportunity for growth.

And the Government’s very, very focused on how do we get growth into our economy.

UK Music put out a great report on music tourism, called “Wish You Were There”… “Wish You Were Here”, which showed just how many billions of pounds we make from music tourism in this country. Well, that is driven by the grassroots.

And so, I think, representing the labels, what we want to do is support the pressure, frankly, on Michael, on Ed, to make some changes here, that are really going to ensure that we develop artists as recording artists. But also, that live music becomes an even more important part of the economy.

I am Joyce Wilson. I am the London Director for the Arts Council, but I come here today speaking also with a national voice, just in case you were concerned about that. And I think that… We can say that, as far as London is concerned, the Arts Council does have a reasonable track record of investment in this area of the music sector.

And we have been making a very concerted effort to replicate that nationally in recent years but, also, to raise the profile of the support that we are already giving to this sector. So… We are not doing this just because of the quality of the programs that we support, but also because we absolutely do recognise the part that venues play in terms of local cultural infrastructure. And also, the really important part that they play in terms of developing emerging talent and being a real champion for that.

We do have investment in a relatively small number of small music venues. And – just some examples of that – here, in London, we have Café Oto. We’ve also got Cecil Sharp House, which is the home for the English Folk Dance and Song Society. Band on the Wall, in Manchester, we invest in. Also, The Stables, in Milton Keynes. And those are just some of the venues we invest in.

We also have investment in some organisations which are more strategic and which are actually looking at offering sector-wide support for various things. So, today, you have Attitude Is Everything here to talk to you and also got the stand outside – and Attitude Is Everything is supported by the Arts Council.

We have got Urban Development, an extraordinarily powerful small organisation in the east of London, which is supporting independent music artists there. We have got Generator North East. We have got Brownswood and Small Green Shoots, who were two organisations that we brought into the portfolio just in this last round.

I’d also note, as Beverley has, that the Creative Industries finance team is here to talk to you today. Again, that is supported by the arts council. Do you please take the time to go and talk to them about what they might be able to do to help you. It’s a brand new programme that they are launching that they would like you to sign up to so please take the opportunity to do that.

We also invest in work through our strategic touring programme. We have got Root Music as an example of that which is a programme of touring culturally diverse Roots music to venues across the country. We have got Mapped Out, which is Generator North East’s venue and talent development touring circuit. And that’s just a couple examples of what we are doing there.

We have been and we will continue to be working in partnership with the music venue trust itself. We also have investment in the Independent Venue Week. Which is a national initiative to celebrate and develop independent music venues across the country. More local examples are Tin Music in Coventry, which we funded through grants for the arts for its programme, audience and organisational development. And Village Underground, which gets support for its conversions festival.

But, as with all art forms, we don’t actually invest in venues per se. What we do is invest in the programmes which are in venues and that is true for everything across the music sector and so we would really welcome applications from venues which are looking to develop their activity. For example, projects that develop artistic output, help them to develop new audiences, help them to develop touring networks, or to work with emerging artists.

So I carried out a very brief piece of research before coming here to talk to you today. Just to see what sorts of things people were applying for, who was applying. And I have to say actually not many of you do apply to the arts council. So, we would really like to hear from you. It is hard to support you if you don’t make those applications to us, if you don’t come and talk to us about what it is you want to do. We can’t turn your words in to action unless you come and talk to us. So, I would say, please do make use of us.

Actually, it would be quite useful even in this session if there are any barriers that you feel there are to you applying to the arts council. Tell me. Tell me today what those are and we will see what we can do about that.

We have got an enormous amount of support actually which is directed towards artists themselves, or towards organisations which are directly involved in talent development. That ranges from very large scale events such as The Great Escape, or Liverpool Sound City through to support for promoters who are seeking to tour emerging artists and Club Fandango would be an example of that.

We also support record labels so Brownswood, Square Glass are two examples of that. And, we support the acts themselves obviously. In helping them to tour and helping them to develop their live shows.

So, whilst we haven’t not up until now seen an enormous amount of investment in the venues themselves. There is certainly the potential there to do that. And also, I would suggest that the venues themselves are probably in a good place to benefit from the investment that we are making in independent artists.

Here I am going to have to mention the Momentum Fund which, we have, which is delivered through PRS. That is, grants of between 5,000 – 15,000, to help people move on to the next stage in their career. That covers an absolute plethora of things that people might what to do. Working with a producer, recording the next album. The list if what you can do is actually quite extensive under that programme.

What we do know from the research which the GLA has carried out is that there is an enormous challenge for the music sector at the moment. In terms of practical problems around planning, around licensing, business rates etc. The arts council is really happy to work in partnership with people in order to address those. It is not our area of expertise so we can’t lead on it but we are happy to work with the GLA. We will certainly advocate for every cultural sector with anybody who will listen to us. We are tarts in that respect. We will talk to anybody about anything and advocate for you.

We are talking to local authorities, trying to see what they can do in terms of offering incentives for creative industries. In particular looking at what they can do in terms of moving creative industries into town centres and using creative industries to regenerate, for regeneration there.

And finally, just to say. The arts council, we are not adverse, we are not adverse to international collaboration and international exchange, but, there is anecdotal evidence that we are receiving which says there is starting to be a bit of an exodus of cultural talent from this country. In particular, to mainland Europe and we would like to help out with that, to try and look at ways in which we can try to retain talent in this country and to work with agencies to create the environment which is right for small music venues to flourish and for independent talent to flourish.

Thank you.

Thank you for justifying my chair. Because I can’t change government legislation, I can’t give you any money. I can come to your venue and stand at the back by the bar, that’s about all I can do for you.

I’m here because, well I counted it up the other day, roughly, in my life, since 1978 when I went to my first gig at the Chelmsford Chancellor Hall to see the band called The Lurkers, I’ve been to more than 5000 gigs. Of those 5000 gigs – I can’t remember a single one, of those 5000 gigs, I would say predominantly 90% of them have been in grassroots venues because that’s where the energy and the talent at it’s most raw can be found and I think that’s a really interesting point, which we’ll get to in a second.

Just to pick up on a couple of things, music tourism: well we all know that the Chemical Brothers famously said they went to Manchester just because of the success of the Stone Roses, So that’s true – I mean, it could be a good thing or a bad thing, whether you want Chemical Brothers living next door to you. The other point, which I think is interesting is the amount of money that is raised by popular acts in Britain and has this – although it’s brilliant that it’s happening now – all this it’s happened a little bit too late for some people.

I went back and had a look at the 1994 Oasis tour, that was the famous fifty quid tour, in fact there’s probably people still here who’s venues have still got the contract which said “We paid Oasis fifty quid” up on the wall somewhere, but only a few of you, because I looked at that tour, there were 25 dates on the first leg of that tour. Of those 25 dates, you take out the one polytechnic and the one university, of those 25 dates, of the venues left, there are now 12.

If you go through the list, we have lost places like Jug of Ale, Leeds Duchess, just after them playing at the Portsmouth Wedgewood rooms on the second of May 1994, they went to play at Newport TJ’s on the 3rd, that’s gone. Derby Warhouse. Gone. The Leicester Prince of Charlotte on the 6th of May. Gone. The Old Trout in Windsor on the 7th of May. Gone, and the list goes on.

Where will the new Oasis play if there are no venues for them to play in?

And I would imagine Noel Gallagher’s tax bill is quite eye watering.

So as a new wave, I think this is very good, I think also, it’s important that we remember, not just that bands get to play at venues and learn their trade. I think, obviously, that’s very important, we’ve seen that recently with Catfish and the Bottlemen, who spent four years on tour learning how to play and learning how to play to an audience, I think that, the charisma and charm, has been honed over many long drives home from gigs where they’ve had half an hour to pitch themselves to a room full of twelve people. I think that, obviously is really good.

But let’s remember what your venues actually do for the community. It’s not just about the band on stage, although the band onstage is good. It’s about the local bands who form, we used to meet in record shops, we used to go to a record shop, look at records for twenty minutes and then spend another twenty minutes looking at people’s shoes. Because there were cool people in the record shops and by chance you might meet someone who you’d want to be in a band with. With virtually no record shops now. Venues, that’s where it happens.

And what about people in towns, Colchester or Harlow, where I grew up, what about the people in these towns who like music? Where do they go if there’s nowhere to go? What’s there for them? Particularly if they like a sort of alternative rock music, maybe they look slightly different. When I moved to Harlow in the 80s, there was one nightclub, Benny’s Nightclub, they had The Cure’s Love Cats, that was the only listenable record, where did everyone else go? If you were of a slight, a different political opinion or you looked different, or you liked a different sort of music, there was one place for them to go and it was brilliant that it was there, because it means people can congregate and share ideas. They might form a band, the might write a fanzine. There was a couple of lads there who became music producers. These days, there are people who can go there and use the decks, it provides a place to rehearse and a place to see a band but it provides, as well, a shelter, a meeting place for people. You take that away and where are these people going to go? The Harlow Square is due to shut on New Year’s Eve this year. If that goes, the whole musical community, where do they go?

This is what’s important as well about these music venues. And this is why, I think this is another point, as much as everyone here can do, if you read – and do read the London Taskforce Report because there is some amazing stuff in it. It takes a whole night, took a whole night and two pints of cider for me to get through it, but it’s worth it, trust me. It’s brilliant, some of the legislation that’s been put forward. This is all good but also we have to shout very loudly as well to the live music industry at the top because we are in danger, I think, with live music in this country, of ending up in similar situation to how we’ve seen football in this country go. That the money is just congregating at the top.

So the venues at the top are amazing, they’re brilliant, they look brilliant and also a lot of kids go “well I want to support the nice thing at the top!” but for all those big Manchester United style venues, it’s all very well and good and it’s fine if you want to go and see a gig in a venue that’s the size of an aircraft hangar and watch a band from four miles away, that’s absolutely fine. But I want to see those – what about your venues, the ones who are operating locally – like the local lead soccer sides. If the money doesn’t start to trickle down, where are we going to go? I really think we should shout very loudly and say “Look! This is where there are bands. This is where the bands that you’ll be putting on in five years are coming from.”

What we’re supporting, as I say, a local community. It may just be a small community, but it’s very important. If you can’t go to a gig on a bus when you’re sixteen, you may never get to see all those amazing musical moments that I got to see at the Harlow Square, at the Colchester Arts Centre. That’s what’s really important today.

One other thing, we all hear a lot today about buildings and legislation but there was a brilliant bit in the Evening Standard last night, where there was a quote from Sir Anthony Gormley about a grant which he was given, it was just 500 quid, it was an Arts Council grant for £500, it wasn’t just the money, what it was, was what gave me, what it really meant to me was it was encouragement and recognition and I think the one good thing that it is, that finally you’ve made enough noise that people are actually starting to recognise what it is that you do and that’s the best thing about today.

Thank you very much.

Thank you so much everybody for coming today, I’m on a panel with Steve Lemacq, I think that shows where we’re going with this so that’s great, it’s good for my ego and makes me feel better. I’m also on a panel with Ed Vaizey, and Michael and Geoff.

We’ve worked incredibly hard in the last 20 months, nearly two years now, to get this audience in front of this panel so that you can ask the questions that would make a real difference to your venues and what we’re driving towards now is the Trade Association of the Music Venues Alliance so we have an even more powerful voice.

I think what Steve said at the end there was incredibly important, you’ve got to be recognised for what you’re doing. You mentioned the buildings and all the bands we’ve seen. A lot of people in this room are very old friends of mine and they’re passionate about live music, they’ve driven this forward, on their own, for far too long and now is the time we should all really get behind them.

I’m going to pick up a couple of things that I don’t want missed, but please, definitely shout up with your questions, I think what we’ve kind of identified in the report, or I hope we’ve identified, is that there are 3 supporting sectors here that, really, don’t take this personally any of you, but you need to get your acts together and respond to this message now.

One is government, I take what Ed said and we’ve met a couple of times and actually people in the DCMS are supportive. Michael’s right, you know, there’s a lot of stuff that – But it’s not working. The changes to the National Planning Framework haven’t worked, Ed, and it’s really as simple as that. The reason we’ve gone to London and we’ve said that we need ‘Agent of Change’ is because it hasn’t worked so far. You’re going to have to tell people, “Agent of Change is want you actually want and what you actually need.”

The licensing thing, Live Music Act, like most venues in this room, actually I looked at the Live Music Act and I thought “Well, you know, could be good, not really sure. What might happen?” What’s actually happened, locally is that I now have a lot of amateur competitors putting on a lot of music nobody cares about in rooms that aren’t fit to put on music while I’m still licensed to hell. Absolutely licensed to the hilt. In fact if anything, the Live Music Act has encouraged my local authority to license me even more than it did before and instead of doing it through any kind of entertainment thing, they just pile conditions after conditions onto the licensee, onto the alcohol license. Auro, from the Village Underground, was telling me the other day he has 72 conditions on his alcohol license. More than anything else, it takes him about three hours to read them. It can’t be a good way to license venues so we do need to deregulate, I think deregulation of this specific sector could be a follow up to the Live Music Act that genuinely levels the playing field.

Second sector, the cultural sector, Joyce has told you a lot about what Arts Council do. Again, I have to say, my experience of Arts Council officers is that they’re really supportive, I mean, Ben Lane is fantastic, Paul Bollen, fantastic, but what you’re actually proposing isn’t any help to us. We don’t have the time to fill in hours and hours of very, very rigorous paper work. I run another charity that does music and I’m telling you I’m brilliant at Arts Council forms, very very good at it, but if I looked at doing one for my venue, wow, I don’t have time for that. And if I did it, you wouldn’t understand what I’d written down anyway. “I want to put on a guy that’s playing white noise through a trumpet for no apparent reason other than the fact that it might annoy somebody and it’s just brilliant,” you know, and I, it doesn’t fit in what you’ve got. And the answer can’t be “change what’s in this room to fit in with what we’ve got” you need to look at what’s happened. The live music sector in this sector has been decimated, we need money into infrastructure. I’m sorry if it doesn’t fit in with what you already think, but rethink what you’ve got. Actually start again and say “Wow! No money has gone into PA and lighting in this sector in 30 years, let’s get some.” Fantastic, look at these lights, wow, these would be great in my venue, can I have some like that, if you’re not using them all, you know what I mean? I know that people in this room are really trying to do it on their own but all across the sector, we’re looking at fantastic gains.

A lot of the noise problems that we hear about could be solved by brilliant PA. We have PA’s in this country that are very very limited spread, very very, you know, perfect sound like that and then they stop. The problems we’re getting with noise complaints from neighbours could be solved by government and the Arts Council working together and investing in technology. Let’s get that in there, let’s reduce all the electricity bills by making everything LED, putting it all on renewable energy, put solar panels on the – these are all things you can do with infrastructure.

You mentioned the Momentum Fund and I’m, I hate to tell you this story but I need to because somebody needs to and I’m already in the firing line so I don’t care. The Momentum Fund has resulted in people driving to my venue in an incredibly shiny van with fantastic equipment, unloading the world’s nicest looking amps with the world’s nicest looking guitars with gold plated leads, plugging them all in, looking at the stage and going “what a shithole!” Because they’re plugging £20,000 worth of brilliant equipment into speakers that are held together with sellotape – and I think my engineer’s an absolute genius – but I mean, that is not a sensible way to invest. If we’re investing in 20 bands that are doing, through the Momentum Fund – all of which are great bands, fantastic – but when they get to the venue, there isn’t the infrastructure to support them so we’ve got to do something about that.

People are walking into these venues – and I think this is where I’m going to move over to the music industry – they’re walking into these venues and they’re thinking “Wow! Live music smells funny. I mean, it’s kind of, it smells a bit funny doesn’t it? And it’s not really what I was expecting.”

Are we producing long term, ardent music fans, consuming the culture by giving them something that isn’t good enough? No we’re not.

Everybody in this room wants to do that, we all want to put fantastic gigs on, we’re passionate about it, you a can hear it in my voice. But we need the support. So let’s come round to the music thing, I promise I’m going to finish. The music industry itself has got this ecosystem pipeline wrong. It’s as simple as that and we have to confront it.

You mentioned about grants going into bands. Everybody in this room knows that the standard music industry contract is that 85% of the money goes to the band after costs. So any money that you put into me to run a program of artists appearing in my venue is actually going through me directly to the artists. None of it is going into the infrastructure, at all. Not one contract I’ve written – has anybody managed to write electricity down on a contract? You can tell by the laughter, “No.” The music industry doesn’t think that electricity exists, it thinks that electricity comes from other planets, which is a great title for a record but it’s not a way to run a live music venue. So we’ve got to get these things right, we’ve got to really look at the whole contract basis, we’ve got to do this and there must be a way to construct, as they do in Europe, a mechanism, a pipeline mechanism, between Ed Sheeran playing 3 nights at Wembley Stadium and probably a hundred people in this room who lost £200 putting on Ed Sheeran because they thought he was great and they didn’t expect to make any money. It’s not impossible to do, we can do it.

I’ve rambled on, but please, please stand up and ask questions and also, today, it’s really important to ask them, we keep this going. We are now asking you to please come in with us and be part of the Trade Association, it’s really important for us to do that because by doing that, you’ve got this. And I hope you all think that this is valuable and we should be doing it more. Okay, Thanks.

Panel – Business Up – Be Inspired

Who here sells out most of their shows, if not all?

No marketing superstars? Two people over there. You should talk to them afterwards. They are good at what they do. So, who here could use help selling out their shows and bringing some people to their venues? A few more, few more people. And the rest I guess in the middle.

My name is Bora. I am the founder of Jukely. Jukely is a membership for live music events and I am a former promoter. I used to work as a software engineer and engineer by day, promoter by night. I used to pay for my artists with my engineer salary. I’d loose that money half the time and I always looked for ways to like “How do I not loose this money?” And you know, I kind of got addicted to losing that money because at one point in the night I guess you know, it turns in to an addiction. You know that the night is loosing money but you kind of don’t care at one point. At 11 o’clock. At some point you kind of see people are really smiling. You know, forget about it. It’s a great night. People are happy. You introduced some new music to people and, but you know, I was motivated by fixing that for myself and then I realised this wasn’t just my problem. A lot of people had problems also getting people in the door. Introducing new music to people, unless your booking well established acts, you know. I used to do this is Hartford, Connecticut in the US and you put the name on a flyer but nobody knows the name of a flyer and nobody recognises the name, so nobody comes to the show. So you can’t really promote your event based on the popularity of the artist. What do you do?

So I kind of always looked for ways to get people out using creative ways. Then I found out, live nation always promotes these studies like half these tickets go unsold in the industry. So maybe there’s a business here. So I kind of wanted to marry my engineering background and I had become a pretty good promoter. I was putting on festivals by myself. You know, and then I decided to start Jukely you know, 2 years ago. We are still a baby company I guess. For to make live music recommendations and discovery that we spent or first year doing that. You know. People sign up with this app, connect with their music services. We learn their music taste. We learn their friend’s music taste. We start making recommendations to get people out to shows and we start working with the promoters. You know really creating a nice marketing backend. You know a consumer app that people liked using and in the backend it generates a lot of music taste data. A lot of social data. A lot of venues and promoters were utilising it for. However we hit this one roadblock, that we would make recommendations all day long, which didn’t really result in ticket sales. And then we noticed there is one very prominent phycology. That people only buy tickets for artist they know and love. You know, we couldn’t really convince people to buy tickets for artists we thought they might like, you know. So that wasn’t happening. And of course we started this in 2013 so, there were some solutions in place. Like Songkick does a great job, right. So if your favourite artist is coming to town they let you know, you buy tickets that increases the sales. What about the artists that you don’t know that you love yet? So you know things have changed maybe five, ten years ago you could say you were in love with five bands. But now, with streaming, Spotify, we’re listening to so much more music. Maybe that feeling of love is being replaced with like, 100 bands. You know, we are listening to so much more. Maybe the concept of being a fan has changed over time and we are being introduced to so much more music. But like which ones are worth buying tickets for? And you know, when do you go you go out? So you know we spent our first year really discovering these things and then we got some good investment. I am one of those lucky music entrepreneurs who could have failed but I kind of bounced back and didn’t fail. I raised about 11 million dollars in the past couple of years. You know, led by Spotify’s investors now and they believe that we have the opportunity to expand the live music pot.

So we last October started this subscription service. We went to our promoters who were working with us and said so we work with you guys and we have this audience and how about. They used to give us all these free tickets in the last minutes when their shows weren’t selling out. Which is no one has paying the room obviously. So we would do that a lot because we had everybody’s music tastes, you might like this band, you might like this other band. We are going to put you on the guest list. So we kind of helped our venues partners fill the room. We went to them and said lets create a membership and lets share the revenues. What do you think? So last October we started this in New York and we tested for about 3 months and it worked really well. So lets launch in more cities. So we started launching in LA in January and San Francisco and in March it’s South by Southwest time we launched in Austin, Miami at a music conference. And then things were working well. We were making our venues and promoters new money. You know. Obviously once you share the monthly subscription revenues. You don’t get the full music ticket price back. But you get a portion of it. You get half of it. Sometimes you get 70%. Sometimes you get all of it. If it’s a sold out show we go and buy full face value tickets and now of course all the additional drink money people will get. Yeah so things were working out well, you know. We raised another 8 million dollars. It looked good and then we launched in London just a few months back. So now we are very, very new in the UK. We are in 17 cities. 15 American, plus Toronto, one Canada and one in London and now we are hoping to launch in more cities. And the way we can work is we become partners. You know so we have these members and the way it works is they pay 25 pounds a month, or 35 pounds a month and they get either 2 days before the gig or 5 days before the gig and if your tickets aren’t selling out. You can make them available if they are selling out. You don’t have to make them available to the members. And I am wrapping up. So yeah, we become a partner in the subscription service and it brings additional people to your venue.

I’m Michael. I work for Jack Daniel’s. I sell whiskey, which is enjoyable.

I think the thing with Jack as well, is it has a long-standing heritage in music and we have done a lot of things in the past certainly in the last 15 years in the UK and we got to a point. We are quite lucky in that some of that job is already done for us due to things that were done that preceded me. I think one of the interesting things that has happened recently in the music industry is the need to generate revenue. And one way to generate that revenue is through brands.

10 years ago Jack Daniels was one of the few brands that artists, record labels, management would actually do a gig for. That has entirely changed now. That’s a good thing. So I think brands in music is I think is important and will become increasingly important. But we had to have a look and go, we were actually doing gigs around the place and thinking we actually need to change and we need to do something a bit different to differentiate ourselves and try and stay ahead and try and remain that heritage brand in music. And we did some research and consumers said look, we know Jack Daniel’s, we know you are a music brand. You don’t need to do that job. What we want you to do is give something back to music.

So we kind of created this point of view that music is actually best enjoyed live. And actually the most memorable moments happen at small venues. It’s not watching a matchstick from the back of Wembley stadium. The ones you really remember are the ones you see really close up and personal.

You know it’s interesting hearing Steve Lamacq talk earlier about his history in music. I’m from Derby. The warehouse was a venue in Derby. I wasn’t there when Oasis played in ’94. I was probably failing my GCSEs. But it’s those moments. I went to a lot of gigs at the warehouse, which has closed.

I go back at 10 years and seeing the Artic Monkeys at the back room at The Roadmender in North Hampton. I saw a band a few weeks ago in Hoxton. They are called Feverist. Who knows where they are going? But they were brilliant. It’s those real moments that stick with you.

So what we are doing essentially is lots and lots of gigs in a lot of your venues I am hoping. If any of you guys have done a Jack gig in the last, I don’t know, two, three, four years can you stick your hand up so I get an impression of, okay. Not enough. We need to do more. And that’s evident but we are going to do that.

Essentially we are not going to get to do gigs in all of your venues. We don’t have the people to manage that, the resources or the time to manage that. But what I hope we can do for the people in this room is put a massive spotlight on small venues and the importance of going to watch live in your venues and we do that essentially through our media spend.

So we spend a lot of money with the likes of NME, Spotify, YouTube filming gigs from your venues. Putting them on, on that platform and them having something to go to after so it’s not here’s a great piece of content you can watch and then it’s never going to happen again. Actually, you can go to that venue next Saturday. Something great will be happening there. Go back. Watch it.

We also have a database of around 1 million consumers and we will talk about the gigs that are happening in your venues as well. So I would encourage you. I am on LinkedIn. You’ll find me on Facebook, all the usual places. I’m opening myself up now to a wave of stuff, but that’s cool you know. We’ll do our best and we’ll work with those guys, and you guys as best we can. To make sure we are giving you know. Twenty something year old people who are our target market great music experiences that they want to come and see again.

I’m Gideon Feldman. I work with Attitude is Everything. We are a charity that work with anywhere live music happens. Just basically to assist you be accessible as you can to deaf and disabled people. I was asked to talk about. Or rather our suggested talking topic was, better accessibility for better audiences. And I think the key point about better accessibility for a better audience is engage with deaf, disabled audiences. It is worth taking a moment to look at some of the stats that are out there. There are 11 million deaf and disabled people in the UK today. Households in the UK with a disabled person living in them have a combined income of 212 billion ponds. So there is money out there. There is an audience out there for you. We tracked this ourselves. Just by surveying the 100+ venues and festivals that we assist. So the following stats are largely down to us working with an increasing number of venues and festivals. But should also be seen in the context of venues and festivals achieving larger growth in deaf and disabled audiences by taking subjects of accessibility and inclusion on board. So between 2013 and 14 we saw ticket sales at charter venues and festivals increase from 66,000 to 113,000 so a 73% increase. The total economic impact of deaf and disabled people attending charter venues and festivals events increased 59%, so from 3.4 million to 5.4 million pounds each year and information is key to driving this growth.

In a recent survey we carried out in the northeast, 30% of people stated that they had been unable to attend a gig as planned because of a lack of information relating to access. I’ll be talking about access information in more detail in the seminar I will be running a bit later and it’ll run through what is involved in producing really good basic information about your venue in order to meet customer needs.

We work with a number of small venues to implement low cost or no cost access provision, such as the Boiler Room, or the Tin, or Village Underground, which is on the silver level on our charter of best practice. But In the spirit of this discussion I would like to briefly touch on some truly innovative best practice in the realm of information provision that any venue can adopt so there are two points I want to look at. First one is Band on the Wall up in Manchester. They have got an audio gig listing. This is a Soundcloud they have made which gives the name of the bands, the ticket price, and the door time and then about 30 seconds of one of the bands songs. And it is basically just a really good way to give customers a quick information grab of what’s happening week on week in the venue.

Another one is the Albany down in Deptford. They have got a route guide. The venue is not the easiest place to find for a first time visit. They have made a route guide from local transport hubs and it is basically a video that shows someone walking the route with a voice over giving landmarks and then arrows with what direction to take when you get to junctions so again, something that can be made really easily in house. I also want to turn to a venue who has just started out in this realm of audience development and highlight the immense value of simply gaining new perspectives. I first met with Katy Oliver who is the event and programme manager for New Cross Inn at Venues Day last year. One of several venues that we first met at our stall that we have worked with over the year. We have worked to sign up New Cross Inn at the bronze level of the charter. This involved a couple of meetings and we looked at really, what happened at the venue and what there was to offer. We talked about how best to let people know about this on the website and we looked at what polices might be good to have for bar staff and for the box office to increase access provision and we also found the long lost accessible toilet. All this can be summarised in some feedback that New Cross passed over to us and that was, they learnt how to look at their venue form a different point of view and realised how much they already had in place. They just needed to tell people about it. So comprehensive access information is key to this and indeed New Cross Inn now has a fantastic webpage with information. Sometimes changes can be as simple as insuring you have opened up all available channels of communication. So Katy points out, they’ve had a couple of people with access requirements phone up looking for help on buying tickets and this hadn’t happened before they started putting information on their website. So hopefully that is a few new customers. The other thing I want to look at is in terms of gathering more customers, sorry, in terms of getting more customers in through the door. The value of providing free tickets to personal assistants. As a reasonable adjustment it can’t be underestimated as a way to enable people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to come to your venue. If this has never occurred to you, or never cropped up as an issue then it is really worth while looking at as a policy and telling people about it as well. There’s massive noticeable positive impact on attracting new audiences this way. A PA attending a gig with a disabled person is two people coming to your gig. So that’s two people buying drinks, merchandise and also building an attachment to your venue that will lead to long term future visits from not just the disabled customer and the PA but the disabled costumers and PA together and separately. So basically starting with what you are telling people about your venue online can build to better accessibility for better audiences.

My name is Auro. I run a venue called Village Underground up the road from here and I suppose I also sell whiskey, like everybody else in this room. I got asked to come here and sit on the panel from the sort of venue operator’s perspective. So I thought I would start with a question which is, who here with a show of hands manages to run live music gigs in their venue without having to cross-subsidise it with anything else like private hires or parties they’d rather not do or any other income generating activity? Nobody, nobody, oh, no there is a couple at the back you can’t see there. Okay, we have got two hands I think. So I kind of thought it was an interesting starting point because it shows us how difficult it is to do what we are doing and how days like this and panels like this and debates like this are really important for us to all learn and improve the situation. So I was asked to give a couple of things that we do at Village Underground to make it work. So I am going to do a quick whistle spot of a few of them. We set up a music venue accidently in what was about to become the most expensive real estate on the whole planet, which was a stupid idea. But the suspect, I guess silver lining for that is that lots of people want to hire our rooms. So we, like I am sure a lot of people here do kind of corporate events or conferences or private parties and all that kind of stuff and we do one of those per week on average. And it brings us about £10,000 or something a day so if you multiply that across the year it really helps to subsidise our programme and we took it quite seriously. We hired a team of people and we have lots of supplier relationships with all the AV people and the catering people and the drinks suppliers and all those kinds of companies with a kickback and a commission system and we tighten up all the screws on that stuff so that we can do the minimum of those days that we need to, to get the maximum money to support our programme as far as we can. If you’ve ever been, not seen Village Underground, you’ll notice it because there are some tube trains on the roof. We have got a bunch of tube trains sitting on the roof of our venue that are artist’s studios. And we set those up right at the beginning and they basically bank rolled the beginning of Village Underground the venue and now all that money that comes from renting those artist studios also goes back in to the programme so that helps to support what our core mission is and I guess that kind of came a bit of our brand, or a bit of our identity so we bought a couple more tube trains and we stripped them out and they are on the back of lorry trailers and next summer we are about to go on the road with Village Underground we are going to go on the festival circuit and we are going to take our programming out of our four walls and take it to other audiences and grow our reputation further outside the sort of insular bubble of London. So that was another way of us throwing some mud at the wall and trying to generate some money that we could spend at home, on home ground with our programme.

I think it’s worth mentioning public funding again because so many venues don’t do public funding and it came up a bit earlier on, which I was really pleased to see because it is something we started doing recently. I think this year we got something like £160,000 worth of public funding, stuff from the Arts Council, from the EU funds as well and from other places. And we did all that, sort of slowly building it up with a fundraiser, a freelance person on a day rate chucking in applications, seeing how it would work. Growing it from there and all that money helps us with our programme as well, which has been super beneficial.

We also do a lot of stuff with partnerships because for us we want the biggest diversity of genres and art forms and different sounds and different audiences as we can possibly get in to the building in a year se do a lot of work with the Barbican or other Institutions like the South Bank or Sadler’s Wells or theatres other music venues. It is amazing what you can achieve if you sort of stop looking at your own little patch and start pulling in all these other really good institutions and I was always really surprised in the beginning how much they want to work with grass roots music venues because we all have something intangible, that those guys don’t have, you know. We have a different crowd. We have a different atmosphere. There is a different vibe in the room. There is different things become possible that those bigger players can’t do, so that was another really important way for us to earn more money, to develop our programme. And we also, we are in street art central in Shoreditch. It turned in to something like a graffiti mecca, and also we had tube trains on the roof so every street artist wants to be our best friend. So, what kind of organically grew into part of our programme was this rolling roster of street artists from all over the world that come and paint on our building every month. And we reserve a small bit of space there where artists get commissioned by brands, like Jack Daniel’s, like Converse. I don’t know, those kinds of interested brands, in that sort of scene. They pay artists to come up with mural ideas and to paint them up on the wall and we get, you know, we get a good amount of cash for that, I don’t know like £5,000 or £10,000 a month which is also money we can put back in to our programme. So I guess from a Village Underground point of view, we are just trying as many things as we can and throwing as much mud at the wall for side projects that kind of fit what we do but perhaps aren’t core to our mission but nonetheless pay for it because as we all know here it is really hard to make gigs work in the current situation that we’re in.

Hello. I am Julia Jones. I have spent 20 years putting together music-based campaigns helping businesses and individuals make money from music in various ways. A few examples, I started off working with the Olympic squads leading up to Sydney 2000, training athletes how to use music in their training for self-confidence, motivation, to help them achieve their ambitions. Moving out of the sport science field, I started looking at businesses, I implemented an exercise to music programme at a local hotel and within the year they had a 1000 members paying a 1000 pounds a year to go to their exercise to music programme, which they were very pleased about. It’s sort of grown from there really of putting together a lot of experiential stuff, mainly with brands, helping them to reach new audiences using music so some of the drink brands, vehicle manufacturers, across a whole rang of sectors.

But about 6 years ago I started to notice that all the brand experiential stuff that we were doing was very youth focused. But it was still attracting older audiences and people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and at some point, I can’t quite remember how this happened but I decided it would be a good idea to do a PhD part time because I was just fascinated in this new emerging 50 year old really. So for the past 6 years I have been profiling different ages and different demographic audiences to see who they are and to find out what they like and what they spend their money on. And I finished that at the end of last year and the outcome was pretty fascinating because it really highlighted how the music that they grew up with in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, which is when popular music, commercial really exploded has had a dramatic impact on this audience who are now in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s are so passionate about music and are not really targeted in any marketing campaigns or a sort of targeted way and this opened up two opportunities. One, a commercial opportunity because they have disposable income. They have a very deep rooted emotional passion for music. New music and old music because those styles have been rotating and recycling for years. So instead of a 50 year old now going and hammering on the door and saying, “Turn the fucking racket down!” They are like, “What are you listening too?” and they’ll take that royal blood CD that their son is playing and they’ll go play it in their range rover or what ever they are driving. There is a cross-generational sharing of music taste that never happened before and then the second opportunity is a social impact opportunity because we have an aging population which is a huge problem for this country and from an economic point of view, it’s quite frightening but there is significant amount of research that shows how music can deliver a health benefit. In fact, over and above diet and exercise, social activity is a leading factor in how to keep people healthy. So, you could have a really fit healthy person who doesn’t go out very much compared to Mrs. Smith who is overweight, she runs this club and she runs the dancing club and she goes and does this and she is heart of the social circles and she is more likely to maintain her health because she has got very active social inclusion. So there are opportunities, in the panel earlier a few people touched on how local music venues can really play the part of being a community hub, not just for a youth market but for all ages and multiple audiences who share the same music tastes.

So part of the research was a brand called generation music club that I set up to do test cases across six years, of test events and do some ethnographic observations and I’m be going through that at 3:30, I’m doing a workshop in baby box. Going through the results of the PHD and showing some case studies of businesses, and brands and venues who have really successfully managed to tap in to different age groups.

I am Graham MacLean. I am entertainment liaison for, UK’s largest guide to live entertainment and also proud founding member of the Music Venue Alliance. I am here to tell you a little bit about Ents24 today and what we do to get your events and venues seen by our 1.8 million monthly readers. Just to give you a bit of background on the company we started back in ‘99, Bristol based and we have since built a database of over a million subscribers, entertainment fans which has enabled us to work with numerous amounts of ticket agents. Such as SeeTickets, Ticket Master, Gigantic, We Got Tickets.

Promoters as well, we work with live nation, AEG, Avalon, Kilimanjaro, we span events from comedy, theatre, live music, those are the big guns for us really. We work with festivals as well. This summer we were working with festival republic on Reading and Leeds and also some of my favourites, Grillstock and Camden Rocks. We also, through venues day last year, with Gideon, we work closely with them, with Attitude is Everything. Giving our readers very, very valuable content, on the site, and obviously most importantly venues, which is why we are here today.

We help basically promote events and the branding of venues through various ways and spread awareness of the threats that you are all being faced. Again you know we have worked with the Fleece on a few things. You know, spreading awareness of the crap that they faced. Pardon my French, and also the Troubador as well.

And there are a few ways you can gain access to our database and it’s all completely free I mean there is no catch what so ever. Firstly it’s just making sure we have your listings correct. If we have got your listings, then people can register to your venue, sign up to artists alerts, we email and let those people know, all completely free and you can do that by just sending us your email or sending us your listings to [email protected], or using our free promotional service called Ents24 Backstage. Which is quite a new service, which we just re-launched. You can go on there and claim your venue, maintain your profile page and basically add your events and add your tickets and so on and so forth. It’s very basic so make sure you use it, and also by doing that we actively promote your event. So as soon as you add your event to our website, it just doesn’t stay there, we actively promote it for you. We do this by venue alerts, by artists alerts, newsletters and again we have over a million subscribers and all the readership through the website and a new mobile app which is being launched tomorrow, which should be very interesting so if you want to know more about that just come find me later on and other things that we are doing for TAMVA and your venues especially, is a free promotional package so I’ll let you know a bit more about that. Basically, you get in touch with me, you’ve probably seen the booklet already with all the venues. It took me hours to do, go through all those. But yeah, we can do social media posts, let me know if you are struggling for an event to sell out or if you have any freebies or competition tickets, let me know and we will do that for you. If you have got a problem let us know and I am here to solve it for you. Take advantage of it. I want to be the biggest tool you know. Literally. So please take advantage of it. And one of the major things and just touching on what some of the earlier panels were speaking about how venues should be more about heritage and should be seen as such. People’s perception of these venues should be more passionate as to why they stand. And one of the biggest things you know. It’s great to get your events out there, to get bums in the seats. But, ultimately also it’s important for people to know about the venue as it is. All these venues have such great stories. A lot of people don’t know about them so one of the things that we are going to start doing is ‘venue spotlights’. Letting customers know about what your venue is and the history behind it, the great events that happen there and you now, just any kind of crazy tale. And let people know about that and then it will change their perspective, they’re perception of what that venue actually does. Rather then them turning up, one of two gigs every year, or a couple of times a week and really get them to support it and using the Fleece as an example, when they got in trouble, when they got that petition. Thousands of thousands of people knew what that venue was, were passionate about it and that should be the case for every single venue. You know, getting your local people to know what this venue is rather then just holding events. And we have done similar things for that already with the Weymouth Pavilion, Tony Moore’s the Bedford, Clwb Ifor Bach, Independent Venue Week, you know. And we helped them a lot as well. So, that is a little bit about Ents24 and what I do.

Panel – Costs Down – Be Efficient

Hello, my name is Sarah. I work for a company called Creative United. I am here today at Venues Day to tell you all about a new project that we are doing called the One Two Project which is part of our creative industry finance, business support programme. We are all going to be very efficient by having five minutes to talk about, a little bit about what we’re doing. So I guess our approach to being efficient, and that does relate to thinking about costs for businesses with the One Two Project, is how we can support music venues with running themselves as a business and that could be you know, from, you know, do I need a business plan? And if I do a business plan what does that look like? It sounds terribly boring but it can actually be super important for any kind of business. Should I be thinking about how my finances look? You know, can I be sure, can I forecast where is my money coming in and where is it going to be coming in from? Am I utilising all the right markets for my venue? Can I think about my venue as a community interest company? Is it valuable to the local surrounding areas, not just economically, but socially. How can I articulate that to maybe get the council on board or other charities and trusts and foundations that might support what I do? But also, how can I be efficient in running my business to think about how can I access further kind of finance for those very things that were being talked about earlier, which is investment in infrastructure. If it’s difficult to get grant funding for that, where else can you get the money from in an affordable way that you can manage over time so we are also keen to see how can we support music venues if they want to take a loan, it doesn’t have to be the big scary thing that it sounds because the whole thing about providing the business support to begin with is that music venues can figure out whether a loan is a solution for them. So, with the One Two Project the first thing you get is business advice and about 16 hours worth of free business advice thanks to Art Council England’s support for allowing us to provide that business advice that we can inject straight in to creative businesses and music venues. That in itself is incredibly valuable and we are told all the time what a difference that makes, just having someone to come in and work with you on what you are doing and how you can make improvements. Maybe you can find cost savings, maybe you can think about how you are running your business, how you are staffing various elements of the venue. Can that be improved? So that ties in with the being efficient strand.

But then it is also thinking about, you know if you did take a loan and you figured out that it was be affordable, what could you do with it? Unlike a grant, you can use a loan for just about anything that’s got a business case for it. So yes you could buy that PA. You could invest in soundproofing. You could make your venue more accessible for deaf and disabled people. You could just use it for working capital. You could use it for marketing. You could use it to buy another venue. There are lots of options that you could do and it’s all about exploring what those are and we can help you do that. Whether you choose to go down that road of taking a loan or not, that’s entirely up to you but we’re here about helping music venues find their plan for growth, activating all those ideas that they’ve got, finding their community and social value, being able to tell the world how important they are for their local town and city, and if we can help them access finance at the end of all that. Then our job is done. So, as I say, we are – throwing bottles around – The One Two Project, I’ve got a stand out there and I am also doing a seminar a seminar, I think at 5 o’clock if you want more information about that and that’s me and I am sure there will be more questions at the end. Thank you.

My name is Bev, I work at a company called Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers. We are insurance brokers for the entertainment industry, we’ve been working with all areas of entertainment; theatre; sport; music; film; TV, etc. for about 38 years now. So we are totally familiar with all types of risks, different types of insurances available etc.

Having the right insurance in place is a really important thing, it’s probably a very boring thing that you all need to think about because it is not the most exciting thing but it is really, really important. We work with a wide range of clients, from freelancers to multi-million pound organisations, we work with artists and bands who just start out in the music world to some of the world’s top grossing artists. We insure theatre shows, west end productions, modern theatre and arts venues and historic and iconic ones so we have got a really wide range of clients and that helps us to understand all areas and because of that we’ve worked with many individuals, organisations and associations to put together bespoke insurance products and schemes and what we do is we kind of work with them get their ideas, talk to them about what they would want to get from their insurance any issues they had and we tailor products for their business.

We’ve got the, some of the products we have are things like cancelations for live events, we’ve got a theatre and arts venue package that we work with an association on, we’ve got online products for sports clubs and theatre shows s we’ve got a massive wealth of experience from putting together these products, which is one of the reasons Mark came to us about 6 moths ago now, and he asked us whether it was possible to put together an insurance scheme for grassroots music venues and whether we would be interested in doing that, now obviously, we were interested because we are part of the industry, so we said that we would talk to the insurers and see if anyone was interested and whether it was something that we could do. So we approached quite a number of the insurers and one of the companies that we worked with called ProSight, who are actually here today with us, agreed that they wanted to be part of it.

So essentially Marks idea of having this scheme started to come to life, now at the moment, we are in very early stages of it and we’re here today to ask for your help essentially and advice and to ask you to come and talk to us and tell us what you want from this.

We all want to reduce costs, which is essentially why we are here today. One way of being able to do this, in the insurance world, is to collectively buy your insurance from one provider. An insurer wants, essentially, to reduce their exposure and one why they do that is to spread their risk with lots of different companies. So for an insurance scheme to work it needs to have buy-in from everybody, or the majority of people, because as a group you are more powerful then you are as individuals to actually negotiate covers, premiums et cetera, with the insurers. Also what we do is we advice on risk management because that plays a massive part in reducing an insurers risk and exposure, which is, again, one of their main priorities, so we would work with you, and talk to you about ways of reducing your risks which in turn, can reduce your insurance premiums.

As I say, we are in really early stages of this and we ran a workshop at 2:30 today, we’re due to run another one at 4 o’clock and we want to get your ideas. We want to talk to you about what you want and what you would like to see this insurance scheme to look like and how you want it to work for you so I urge you to come along, talk to myself, talk to John from ProSight, and you know, feed your ideas back to us and we can then see if we can move this on a little bit further which will then, obviously in turn, help you guys keep your costs down and give you fully protection for your business.

I work at a charity called Julia’s bicycle that was founded in 2007 by the UK Music Industry to work specifically with the cultural and creative industries on becoming greener basically in quite practical ways.

We now work across lots of different art forms internationally. Our resources are used by thousands of organisations worldwide, a lot of them are free. From guides to waste management to energy management and so forth. Why would you want to be greener? We have done a huge project with the arts council and sort of self-reported benefit, in terms of, we put out a survey. Over 75% of organisations said, “It gave us a massive benefit in terms of staff well being.” Everyone wants to work for a company that does good things.

Of course, that’s not always going to be enough. That ethical case, really is, when you have so many competing pressures. Is not going to be enough. The good news is that over fifty percent also reported reputational and financial benefits. The lowest hanging fruit really for any venue in particular is going to be energy management. Knowing how much energy you use and being really efficient about it.

We have worked with clubs and venues of similar sizes of a lot of the grass roots venues in here and just in terms of low and no cost behavioural changes or small investments. You are probably looking at a 5-30% reduction in how much energy you use. Chances are, quite a lot of people in this room won’t even know how much they are paying every year on their energy bills which, in an industry with margins that are as tight as this to me seems completely insane when you are haggling with fees here or there. That you are not addressing the core costs of running your venue and seeing how you can reduce that.

So if any one wants to find out more practical ways I am running another session up in the loft at four thirty. One of the things we are also looking at with the Music Venues Alliance and the Music Venue Trust is again this sort of collective kind of power that venues can kind of have together. So, we are looking at is there a way we can get a collective green tariff for green energy for venues that might cost less. How can we create spaces where different venues can share their experiences around things like, “Oh, I switched off X, Y, Z equipment and it saved me this amount of money.’

And also looking at collective procurement. Sometimes green services and equipment can seem more expensive, but again if you all band together then chances are you might be able to haggle out a discount. So really, that’s really kind of why I am here today, to start laying out some of the groundwork for that kind of work going forward.

Got to admit, I thought I was stitched up really cause, yeah, we, we, of course we save money, let me tell you a little bit about Band on the Wall first, it has been mentioned by a few other panelists. I don’t actually work for Band on the Wall. I work for a charity called, Inner City Music and as a charity that gives us access to funds and support that others may not access.

We diversify our business model as well so we promote outside of the building quite extensively. We work in partnership with local colleges and with another charity resident in the building called Brighter Sound that delivers programmes to, for young people and emerging artists, we also have digital output so we are currently working with Warsteiner in terms of increasing in our YouTube presence and digital presence and tying them in with that. So in terms of the kind of creative business model, the things that everyone’s been mentioning today, we maximise our revenues as much as possible.

So that is, to be honest, that’s my focus, however, it did get me thinking, I thought, “Well i’m on the panel for costs down, so in what way do we kind of keep a measure on our costs and how might our model be useful for others?” So I thought well, you know, the first thing that we do is monitor our costs and there’s no doubt about it that for many music venues and I’ve worked through many music venues over the years, that whole thing of the rapid cash turnover can be incredibly appealing. Most people open their venues up in time to get that kind of autumn hit, the run up to christmas so, you’ll maybe do your first shows in September, you get going in October and you roll through this peak period right the way through, through Christmas and actually, if you can pull the programming, i think, through January, February, March, you can keep a real strong solid programme going in those months. Now, if you are not really monitoring what is happening with that cash, because a lot of that money is coming in over the bar I often tell people, we are dealing with cash revenues anything from 50p to tens of thousands of pounds, you know 50p for a bag of crisps, tens of thousands for funding revenues, you’ve got to be absolutely on top of that, you’ve got to know where that is, how it sits, what that money actually needs to be spent on and when it needs to be spent. So that’s the first thing, monitoring.

Then, valuing, what does it mean? as quickly as possible, you have to really start turning that cash reality into a set of KPI’s, how many people do you need to get through the door to make sure that your budget is on target? How much is each individual person coming through the door spending on a ticket, spending behind that bar, spending on food? What is your expectation of that? How does that fit into your budget model? Is your budget model rational?

One of the benefits of being a charity is I have a board of trustees and I actually have two accountants on that board and you know, very often in the music sector, you know, accountants, what do we need them for? Well I’ve got to tell you that the accountants on my board have been just invaluable in terms of supporting me, so whether you are a charity or whether you’re an independent, I would say look, get your account, or an accountant friend involved, get them down to the venue, get them interpreting what the financial information means. What are you actually in receipt of? How much surplus is your show actually making? What is the bar actually making? Keep on track of those things.

Finally, whatever your valuation tells you, you must act on it. There’s no doubt about it, that any delay in acting on what your management accounts, your financial information, your accountant is telling you will only worsen the impact. I think there’s no doubt about it that probably everybody in the room knows of a venue that did that thing of opening in September, they had capital costs all racked in with revenue costs, they got to the end of the first financial year, say the end of the 31st of March, then it takes them you know, six months to get their accounts together. They’re submitting them in December, so then that first set of accounts goes in but it doesn’t really tell them very much. They were almost through that full first year’s trading, you get to the end of that full first year’s trading then they do the next, the accountant when he does that full year’s set of accounts just goes “Sell. Just get rid of this because it’s killing you” because the reality is that when you’re in a cash heavy business, like we are, that actually, just a short delay in paying your creditors will put money back in the bank, now that’s useful if you understand your cashflow and you’re managing it, but if you don’t, you are doomed. You will eventually get to the end point and it will all hit and the only option, as your accountant will tell you, is insolvency and you really don’t want to be there.

So that’s my advice. I don’t really delve through the details. We do Julie’s Bicycle, of course we do. I have someone who is fantastic, and this kind of brings me onto the next bit which I’ll try and do very quickly. I have somebody on my staff team who digs through the detail. He is here today. He never accepts any bill on face value, ever. So PRS, quite a lot of talk about PRS last year, a lot less this year. We have knocked Ten-Thousand pounds off our PRS bill over the last eighteen months. Do not just accept your PRS bill.

How did you do that?

You dig through the detail and you go, and you look at what their guidance is, what they say they are going to charge against and make sure that when it’s supposed to be minimum, they are charging minimum and when there is an alternative deal that’s been done with the artist or it’s not been a full music show, that you’re not paying the full rate. So you do that.

Okay, so this is my last little bit then. If we’re talking about saving costs, the one bit that I do get involved in, ultimately, and I’ve learnt this, is HR. It’s all about the people. Most of you who have got a payroll, who run a venue will know it’s a really significant cost against your business. So, my advice is and certainly once you’ve done your, you know, your monitoring, your valuation, that the action very often involves people, and I’ve got to say that its the toughest part of the job but if you have people who are not functioning for which this industry is not for them then you have to deal with it and so that’s the bit that unfortunately, I have had to get involved in. I do get involved in and now we go to real great lengths to try and only recruit people for whom this business makes sense. You all know what it’s like. You’re kind of made to work in the music sector, or you’re not. So that’s what we try and do. We now try and avoid appointing anyone for whom this is not their line of work, it’s not their thing and I now very fortunately have an amazing staff team and they are by far our greatest asset and they provide by far our greatest efficiency.

I’m here from Karousel music, we’re a community interest company, a non-profit specifically set up, really, to help emerging artists sort of survive and thrive in the grassroots, but by nature of trying to do that I think a strong grassroots in general, which of course the venues are right at the heart of, is really important so we put on a series of things from showcases on nights where the venues are suffering, so often a Monday, a Tuesday, a Wednesday where the venues will potentially give all the ticket money to the artist which incentivises the artist to bring as many people as they can. So we’re doing a whole range of things from networking events to publishing and all this stuff but the thing we’re here to talk about is an app which we’ve developed.

We’ve been looking at ways where we can bring in as much revenue as possible for the artist with their existing income streams and one of those things is merchandise. Where we’ve got some hook-ups with a company called Arcadia Branded Merchandise, who are willing to do the stuff at almost no profit to support music. So we just had a band go out, Itchy Teeth, who made almost double the money on their t-shirt sales, so that’s something we can talk about if anyone’s interested in that.

But the app – it just seemed crazy to us that in the modern age where you’ve got apps for everything from a lightsaber to a taxi that takes you from A to B, to a dating app to whatever, every element of your life, and for musicians you’ve got tuners, you’ve got chord dictionaries, you’ve got everything, that when you do your live set performance, you’re still expected to take a sheet of paper at ten/eleven o’clock, after how ever many beers, the venue have to print it out, you’re meant to fill it in and the venue are meant to send it off, if they can’t read your handwriting it doesn’t get processed, if the band can’t be asked because they’re selling merch it doesn’t get processed, they can do it later on the website but it’s quite labyrinthine and so it just seems crazy that there’s someone in the office at PRS sat there typing up setlist registrations it’s, the whole thing is just mad. So we developed an app where you walk into the venue, in less than 20 seconds you submit your set straight into the PRS system, post it to Facebook and Twitter with embedded buy links. So if I see Olaf play tonight and I think “Ah! What was that third tune? I’ve never seen him before!” then I can go into his social media, see what the song was, instantly buy it through the buy link, or if you’ve done a great cover, you may have uploaded that to YouTube, in which case you have the YouTube link, so it’s encouraging people to submit the covers as well.

To all of this, probably the venue mindset is “Well, we don’t want to be paying that thirty-eight quid to PRS in the first place!” So that’s probably a different argument, but for now, what we’re trying to do is streamline the process so PRS can save a fortune in their man hours in typing up the submissions, the artist can make sure they’re getting their money for their sets because, ultimately, if you guys are paying out a minimum of thirty-eight pound a gig and the artists aren’t even claiming it, it’s crazy. You’re paying out money for nothing. So the idea is then that if we can bring down the costs for PRS maybe that’s a conversation for the Music Venue Trust and the Alliance to have with PRS, of maybe there’s a way that they can pass that saving onto the venues. I mean, Mark Davyd would be able to tell you a lot more about that so, yeah, the app is built, we’re ready to sort of go into beta with it, we’re just waiting for PRS to give us the final data format that they want the information submitting in. It’s, I have to say, I was expecting a real fight with them because, as an artist, I didn’t always have the greatest time with them but they’ve been incredibly receptive, they realise it’s something that needs to change, they realise it’s a conversation and they’ve been just the easiest people to deal with since we actually got into a room with them – that took a while – but since we actually got into a room with them they’ve been great. So, yeah, so that will be available soon and

When you say soon, when will it launch?

Well, the minute, the minute the… I mean, it’s a bit like an ocean liner, they’re just turning it round at the minute so it can go in another direction but once it finally is pointing in the right direction I think it’ll be very fast. So we were hoping it would be ready for this week but, you know, what do they say, “Never work with animals, tech and PRS” but, no, they’ve been absolutely ace so far, I have to say, they’ve been really receptive so as soon as there’s more news on it then, yeah.

I’m Richard Wilson, work for a company called White Light, we’re one of the largest suppliers of lighting equipment, and production equipment. I’ve been working in the industry for twenty-five, or so years, frighteningly and I’ve seen a great deal of change in the technology that’s available to you and your venues, and I want to talk a little bit about how to improve the experience, the visitor experience, in your venues but equally taking the points from Julie’s Bicycle, of while improving the lighting within your venues, also actually helping you get the costs down, which ultimately, your bottom line.

I’m going to talk really about LED technology, when it first came out, it was really crap – is the technical term. It was cold, it was a horrible environment, nobody liked it and a lot of people in the industry were very negative about it, but subsequently over the last ten years, it’s improved tremendously. And with the kind of people we work with, they would never really want to look at costs, they’re looking at the artistic merit of lighting equipment and what it will do for them, so the manufacturers worked very hard to improve this technology and, actually, now lighting for your venues is greatly enhanced and it’s a very much more economically viable.

The first thing to sort of talk about is it’s incredibly cheap to run, your replacing – a lot of you, might still have what’s known as a PAR can in your venues, which draws a kilowatt of power and the newer versions of these will reduce that by nearly 90% with LED technology, this therefore helps, obviously your running costs, somebody touched on the fact that some of you may not even know how much you’re paying for your electricity, if this is running all night, it’s going to save you a fortune, there’s secondary savings as well, is that the maintenance is very low on this kind of equipment so you dont have to have as many technicians within your organisations changing lightbulbs, the cost of the lightbulb and so on, and lastly, I don’t know about anyone else here, but I’m quite warm sitting here and the advantage of LED equipment is it doesn’t get hot. So people must look at, also, their plant costs – their air conditioning costs – and realise that actually extracting an awful lot of heat out of buildings is a very expensive thing. So if you look at all of those factors, it really makes sense to have a look at that, because, as I said it improves the running costs, the maintenance costs, your – and your visitor experience and to give you an idea how much, we consulted for Alexandra Palace a couple of years ago and we ran a consultancy thing for them and once we’d done the figures, we worked out that their house lighting system, they got full payback within eighteen months of spending the capitals so it really is something to look at. It also makes, as I said, makes it a very, very nice place to be.

The other thing I’d like to just touch on, is our audience, an awful lot of people that are coming into your spaces now watch their first sort of band experience on things like The X Factor and they expect a far higher production value than currently is happening in some of your spaces and if they do come along to a gig and they really have a low sort of product, where their first experience – are they actually going to come back for a second and third visit to your venues? So again, if you can improve the visitor experience through the lighting and the production, it’ll make a big, big difference.

I can also touch on the audio side of things, again the sustainable side has improved greatly and again if you adopt a few practices for microphone technology and things like that, you can save a great deal of costs, when I first started, every time a radio mic was used, you’d throw out the batteries and if you think now, most people, I hope, you’re using rechargeable batteries and things like that when you’re running your gigs – Yes! Great! There’s a man at the back who agrees.

So, those are just a couple of points from a production point of view, it improves, as I said, the visitor side of things and lastly, I’d also like to touch on one last thing, is that when you’re getting more production coming through, you’re also going to be investing in the future, a lot of people have talked about the bands and that side of things but you also need sound technicians, lighting technicians, visual technicians and if you’re making an investment into your spaces, you’re going to be encouraging the next generation to come through and it’s as much as having the backstage people involved as the people on the stage, thanks.

Seminar – Business Up, Be Inspired


Over 300 delegates from across the U.K. – Venues already booked include: The 1st Floor • 93 Feet East • 100 Club • The 1865 • 229 • Academy Music Group • The Apex • Band on the Wall • The Barfly Camden • Bar Social • The Bedford • Bierkeller • Birthdays • The Bodega • The Boileroom • Brewery Arts Centre • The Brewhouse • Bush Hall • Cafe 1001 • Cambridge Junction • The Cellar • Cheri’s Bar • Clwb Ifor Bach • The Cookie • Dingwalls • The Dublin Castle • The Ealing Club • Electric Ballroom • Electric Circus • Exchange • Fairfield Halls • The Fiddlers Elbow • The Fleece • Forty Two • The Forum Music Centre • Four Bars • Fuel Rock Club • The Good Ship • Half Moon Putney • The Harley • The Hermit Club • Hidden Manchester • The Hope & Ruin • The Horn • The Horseshoe Inn • Independent • Jazz After Dark • The Joiners • Koko • ku bar • Leeds University Union • The Lexington • The Live Room Manchester • Moles • The Music Inn • New Cross Inn • Old Blue Last • The Phoenix Cultural Centre • Plug • Pocklington Arts Centre • The Railway • Rich Mix • The Riverside • The Roadhouse Birmingham • Rock City • The Royal Oak • The Ruby Lounge • Servant Jazz Quarters • Sin City • Sneaky Pete’s • The Square • The Stables • Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar • Surya • The Synergy Centre • The Tin at the Coal Vaults • Traitors Gate • The Troubadour • Tunbridge Wells Forum • Union Chapel • Unit 4 • The Venue Selby • The Victoria Inn, Derby • The Wedgewood Rooms • West End Centre • Windmill Brixton • The World’s End, Finsbury Park • Yellow Arch …and many more!


About VENUES DAY 2015


Download the pdf.”]

Ministry of Sound, London – Tuesday 20 October 2015

Venues Day 2015

Ministry of Sound, London SE1

Music Venue Trust are delighted to announce that Ministry of Sound are the first confirmed official partner for Venues Day 2015 and that the venue in Elephant & Castle, London, will host this year’s event which will take place on Tuesday 20 October.

Venues Day 2015 is designed especially for the needs of small and medium scale music venues from across the UK, with a range of partners from government, the cultural and music industries joining hundreds of music venue owners and managers to explore how to support the future of the UK’s vital grassroots music circuit.

The team at Ministry of Sound pledged their support for other independent music venues following their own experience of the current challenging climate for running a venue in a town/city centre location: “Ministry of Sound is delighted to be a partner in Venues Day 2015. Regeneration shouldn’t be a threat to our industry. We spent four years and well over a million pounds on one case fighting for our existence. A smaller business would not have survived. This kind of dispute takes many of us away from our core passion of finding and developing creative talent. We want to share our knowledge and experience and be at the centre of any efforts to stop it happening in the future.”

The inaugural Venues Day took place in London in December 2014 and provided the first ever networking opportunity specifically for people who run and programme small to medium scale music venues. Over 120 venues from England, Scotland and Wales were represented amongst the 340 delegates from the music industry and cultural sector, providing a unique environment to discuss the positive and negative factors affecting grassroots music venues in the 21st century.

These venues fulfil a vital role in the ecology of the UK’s music industry and make a major contribution to training people that go on to work across the creative industries, as well as being cultural and social hubs within their local community. As the work of Music Venue Trust has grown and gained recognition for the sector, Venues Day 2015 will be an important event for announcing advances and identifying work still needed.

If you would like to know more about Venues Day 2015 please contact Event Producer Beverley Whitrick by email: [email protected]


Venues Day is a unique event that focuses exclusively on grassroots music venues and their associated industries and services.

Venues Day 2015 has three key aims:
– to provide a highly effective marketplace for the best service and industry offers to engage with small and medium scale music venues
– to provide a dedicated forum for the sharing of best practice, innovation and leadership
– to formalise a nationwide network of subscribed grassroots music venues that speak with clarity about their work.

In addition to facilitating exchange and learning, Venues Day provides a platform for agencies, management, record labels and artists to directly engage with grassroots music venues and present Q&As, networking opportunities, and new models of working.

Venues Day is an invitation-only event for grassroots music venues and associated industries and services. It takes place at Ministry of Sound, London on Tuesday 20 October.


The second edition of Venues Day will invite 300 grassroots music venues to engage with over 200 music industry professionals.

Venues Day is supported by key industry and cultural organisations: Musicians’ Union, Arts Council England, DCMS, DTI, DCLG, UK Music, AIF, MMF, FAC.

Venues Day is supported by leading artist booking agencies including The Agency Group, ITB, Coda, CAA & X-ray Touring.

Exclusive lunches, dinners, keynotes, panels, presentations & workshops.

Unique opportunities for venues, promoters, managers and booking agents to network in one dedicated forum.

Brings together cultural, social and economic interests surrounding grassroots music venues with representatives from government, the culture and education sectors and the music industry.

Meet colleagues from every corner of the UK and build a truly national network of grassroots music.

About Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust, founded in 2014, is a registered charity that seeks to preserve, secure and improve the UK’s network of small to medium scale, mostly independently run, music venues. We have a long term plan to protect that live music network which includes, where necessary, taking into charitable ownership freehold properties so they can be removed from commercial pressures and leased back to passionate music professionals to continue their operation.



Understanding Small Music Venues Report can be downloaded from
The report is in the public domain, please credit Music Venue Trust/Institute of Contemporary Music Performance

Photos from Venues Days 2014 to accompany this press release are available to download from:[email protected]/sets/
Photos are in the public domain, please credit Music Venue Trust/Pat Pope

Media Contacts

Mark Davyd FRSA
Founder & CEO

[email protected]

tel: 07778 668 225

Mark is the founder and CEO of Music Venue Trust, the charity that represents over 100 small and medium-sized venues in the UK.

He is the co-owner of Tunbridge Wells Forum, a venue he founded in a toilet over 20 years ago; CEO of Rhythmix, the music charity that works with young people in challenging circumstances; the owner of Outstanding Music, a 360-degree music company that specialises in alternative Latin music, and is the loudmouthed band manager to a stable of Spanish acts.

Mark is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a regular speaker at international conferences (SXSW, LAMC, Eurosonic).

In his spare time he likes to sit in a corner and mutter the phrase “what spare time?” over and over again.

Beverley Whitrick
Strategic Director

[email protected]

tel: 07809 155 388

Beverley runs Music Venue Trust and is the most likely person that will be available to answer your questions and tell you more about our work.

Beverley has over 20 years’ experience of Arts Development, Event Management, Tour Co-ordination, building networks, funding, evaluation and strategy.

She has worked as a local government Arts Development Officer in 3 different authorities and as a Freelance Arts Consultant in London and Barcelona.

Music Venue Trust
Tileyard Studios, 31 Tileyard Road, London N7 9AH, UK.

Music Venue Trust is a Charity registered with the Charity Commission of England and Wales.
Registration No: 1159846.