The UK’s Grassroots Music Venues are a goldmine of British and international talent worth billions of pounds in future revenue, tourism, copyright and performance royalties. But they are vastly undervalued, underfunded and ignored. The UK deserves and needs a world-class Grassroots Music Venues circuit to ensure we remain a world leader in music.


3 Commitments

3 Commitments are required by the next government to protect, secure and improve the UK’s Grassroots Music Venues.


1. Reform Cultural Funding – Invest in GMV Infrastructure

  • Less than 3% of the Grassroots Music Venues sector has received any funding at all in the last ten years.
  • Less than 1% of Grassroots Music Venues below 500 capacity reported any external investment in 2015/16.
  • Music Venue Trust has laid out a clear and achievable plan to improve the infrastructure in 101 Grassroots Music Venues: Sound + Vision
  • Sound + Vision will reinvigorate, re-energise and relaunch a world class UK Touring Circuit by 2022
  • Sound + Vision can be delivered by adjusting the distribution of existing cultural funding by just 0.15%. It requires just 0.8% of the Capital Cultural Funding envisioned for 2018/23


2. Take Action to Increase and Reward Private Investment


3. Cut red tape and reduce costs

  • Extend the Live Music Act 2012 to remove regulation from additional Grassroots Music Venues.
  • Clearer direction and guidance to local authorities on the intent and implementation of the Licensing Act 2003.
  • Remove grandfather clauses and outdated practices and conditions from Premises Licences.
  • Adopt the Agent of Change principle.
  • Establish a Statutory Right of Consultation on planning and development.
  • Reform Business Rates in this sector.
  • Review of VAT on Ticketing.
  • Review Collection of Royalties across the sector – get the money available into the hands of the artists that need it.


Why should the next government take action?


Did you know that…

  • Between 2007 and 2015, 35% of the Grassroots Music Venues in the UK closed down.
  • For every £10 spent at a Grassroots Music Venue, £17 is spent elsewhere in the night time economy, supporting bars, restaurants, public transport, taxi firms, takeaways.
  • The average Grassroots Music Venue in the UK invests over £300,000 every year into presenting new artists.
  • 1 in every 11 jobs in the UK is in the Creative Industries.
  • The Creative Industries is the fastest growing employment sector in the UK.
  • The Music Industry contributed £4.1 billion to the UK Economy in 2015.

Without strong grassroots, the UK’s music industry will wither and die. To ensure the future for the UK’s thriving music culture, it’s time for government and the music industry to come together and take action to protect, secure and improve its Grassroots Music Venues.


What politicians have been saying:


Kerry McCarthy MP

“Small venues have always played a fundamental role in breaking and nurturing new music – their survival is important for ensuring that successful bands continue to emerge from the grassroots. Critically, they also help sustain the cultural scenes and creative economies of many towns and cities, creating employment and attracting people into city centres.”


Ed Vaizey MP

“A vibrant music venue which is breaking new acts has just as much right to be considered a cultural venue as a local or regional theatre.”


Lord Tim Clement-Jones CBE

“We need to ensure that any available funding acts directly to improve the infrastructure in those venues so that they are attractive places for touring artists to play and for audiences to be in.”


Caroline Lucas MP

“The live music scene is the lifeblood of Brighton & Hove. People come from far and wide to enjoy gigs at venues across the city. The Government needs to protect pre-existing venues from being closed down because of complaints from residents in newly built accommodation. We need to find a solution which both protects venues from unnecessary closure and allows people to live in homes that aren’t affected by high noise levels.”


What other countries are already doing:



A package of investments into Grassroots Music Venues to a value of €8.2million in November 2016 (Förderprogramme zur technischen Erneuerung der Aufführungstechnik von Musikclubs). The programme is specifically aimed at a move to digital equipment which is high quality and reduces energy consumption and costs.



51 Grassroots Music Venues receive funding from the Government following the advice of Muziek Centrum Nederland.



Infrastructure and trading subsidy budget which has developed 19 Grassroots Music Venues of exceptionally high quality – at the full subsidy rate, each of these 19 venues commits to paying each performing musician 2000 Krone, a fee equating to £250 per band member per performance.



The Musikkutstyrsordningen (Norwegian Musical Equipment Foundation) gives bi-annual grants to studios, venues, community groups, and rehearsal spaces for upgrading facilities and maintaining and purchasing equipment, 30 million kr per year, £2.8 million.



GMVs receive operational support from: Le ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Le ministère de la Ville, de la Jeunesse et des Sports, Le ministère de la Justice L’Union Européenne – Lifelong Learning Programme and La SACEM. 195 venues benefitted from trading subsidies in 2015, 59 venues received infrastructure grants in 2015.



Music Victoria exemplifies the approach taken by Australia in recent years towards their Grassroots Music Venues, offering direct professional and infrastructure support to venues through a range of initiatives including funded programmes such as Good Neighbours, Live Music Professionals and even a networking programme, Victoire Music Crawl, which saw 25 Melbourne-based music managers, venue bookers, promoters, artists and music media undertake a three-day tour to Ballarat, Castlemaine, Bendigo and Echuca to see GMVs.


What Artists are saying:


Sir Paul McCartney

“Without the grassroots clubs, pubs and music venues my career could have been very different. Artists need places to start out, develop and work on their craft and small venues have been the cornerstone for this. If we don’t support live music at this level then the future of music in general is in danger.”


Neil Hannon, The Divine Comedy

“We all know the problems small music venues are facing, every month seems to bring the news that we’ve lost another icon of the music scene. But perhaps with proper support and investment we can protect the venues that we have left, and ensure they can start many more bands and artists on a path to success.”


Frank Turner

“I’ve made my career playing live in music venues, which were also the place where I found my passion as a kid. Music venues are the locus of our corner of culture, a vital part of our world and a great contributor to our economy.”



“There are many great small rooms in this country who do great work with limited resources, and they should be applauded and supported. There are also great bands, great musicians and great audiences who love music and deserve the best. It definitely seems a shame that when you ask musicians around the world about the touring conditions in the UK, backstage, PA system quality… you don’t get a more positive response.”


Jeremy Pritchard, Everything Everything

“Were it not for presence of the Tunbridge Wells Forum while I was growing up, I very much doubt that I would be a professional musician now. The UK music industry needs to do more to support its live grassroots, and Government needs to recognise that the health and future prosperity of this important British Industry relies on us nurturing these seeds.”


Andy Dunlop, Travis

“These classic little venues dotted around Britain are the Petri dishes in which British music was cultivated over the last half century. To see them disappear would be a crime and in an age where all our town centres are becoming increasingly indistinguishable, we would be denying future generations an independent and individual place to experience live music.”


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