Venues Day 2016 to Tackle Music Industry Issues with Louder Than War

Louder Than War partner with Music Venue Trust to take on the issues facing venues, promoters, agents and artists

Music Venue Trust is delighted to announce a series of panels at Venues Day 2016 which will aim to get to the bottom of touring costs and the relationship between venues promoters, agents, and artists working in the grassroots music venues sector.

Louder Than War presents: Music Industry Issues will take place across three panels at Roundhouse on Tuesday 18 October as part of Venues Day 2016.

Panellists already confirmed include: Stuart Galbraith (KiliLive), John Cornwell (SJM), Mike Jones (MJR), Mandy Betts (Southampton Joiners), Kate Hewett (The Harley), Jeff Horton (100 Club), Steve Zapp (ITB), Phyllis Belezos (ITB), Bex Majors (CAA), Lisa Musso (Sanctuary Rock Bar), Rob Toogood (Fuel Rock Club), Tim Hornsby (York Fibbers), Sam Duckworth, Mark Morriss, The Anchoress, Tom Clarke (Coventry Empire & The Enemy), Nathan Clark (Brudenell Social Club), Dom Frazer (The Boileroom).

In other European countries the Grassroots Music Venue circuit is supported by grant funding to ensure that emerging artists have a place to play and develop their craft. In France that subsidy can be as high as 60% of the venue’s gross income, the result of a government-backed 3.5% levy on live music tickets which sees money from the top of the industry being used to support new and emerging artists at the bottom of the ladder. Across Europe the average subsidy is 42% of the gross income.

And the result is exceptional venues able to provide world-class facilities to artists, including higher performance fees and add-ons like catering and accommodation that have made touring Europe a pleasure. Meanwhile in the UK, venues have fallen into decline and, in many cases, closed shop. Of the 25 venues that launched Oasis on their world dominating career, only 12 remain. The UK has seen more than 35% of its grassroots music venues close in the last decade.

Mark Davyd of MVT explains:

“The finances in this sector have been out of whack for years. In the UK, the sustainability of grassroots music venues has become intrinsically linked to the sale of alcohol and other subsidiary trade, like catering, merchandise etc. It’s a thing venue owners and promoters have been hearing for years: “Put this act on, you’ll get a great bar!” In reality, those days are gone.”

Bar sales per head have been falling for many years: Spend per head at live music events is lower than the national average for licensed premises, substantially lower than for clubs and DJ based events. It’s leading many, Davyd included, to call for a complete rethink.

Music Venue Trust has engaged with the cultural sector (Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians UK etc) to identify ways of bringing some subsidy to these venues, we’re still working on that. We’ve campaigned directly with government to establish the case to reduce core or external costs, such as our successful campaign (working with UK Music and Musicians Union) to remove permitted development rights from spaces near to music venues (reducing legal costs when this occurs), and there’s still more to be done. But now we need to ask the music industry, promoters, agents, artists and managers: What are we going to do about this ourselves? We need to sit down and start again.”

John Robb & Louder Than War

Davyd believes the music industry can create a model that works for artists, and enables venues to survive. And he’s challenged John Robb of Louder Than War to help Music Venue Trust find it.

At Venues Day 2016, John will lead a series of panel discussions which will see leading voices in the music industry get together with venue representatives and start asking some fundamental questions:

How much money is there?

How can we increase that?

Once we’ve got it, where is it going?

How can we make sure venues are sustainable, but also ensure touring makes sense for artists?

John plans to get to the bottom of the whole thing:

“I’ve been in touring bands for years and I’ve experienced music at all levels on the frontline. I’ve seen many changes over the years in the way bands and venues work together, trying to create the best possible conditions to make everything work. Years ago it was just sitting perched on amps in transit vans, sleeping on the van floor, travelling to play gigs in venues where you had to fix the PA before you could go on. Now I’m seeing modern 21st century touring; splitter vans and many venues and bands who understand how this all works, and how it needs to work. But there are still many things that can be addressed from the artists and venues and everybody who works in this sector to make it better for everyone involved. An event like this is a great opportunity to explain the mysteries of promoters, agencies, national advertising, catering, VAT, PRS, PPL. How can we all work together to make the vital lifeblood and key entry point of the live circuit not only work but boom into the new century?”

A full line up of the panellists, discussions, topics and opportunities for Venues Day is being released in the next two weeks.

Venues Day 2016 is a one-day event, running from 10.30am – 6pm.

General delegate passes are on sale now from:

Further event details are available from the MVT website

Music Venue Trust

Music Venue Trust is a UK registered charity which acts to protect, secure and improve Grassroots 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.

For further information please visit

2018-04-19T15:49:19+00:00September 20th, 2016|

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