Music Venue Trust Welcomes New Trustees: Ellie Rowsell and Bengi Unsal

Board developments at charity to reflect opportunities in the sector

Music Venue Trust is excited to announce two additions to its Board, musician Ellie Rowsell (Wolf Alice) and Bengi Unsal (Senior Contemporary Music Programmer at Southbank Centre) and the appointment of Sarah Thirtle as co-chair to the Trust.

Music Venue Trust, the charity created to protect, secure and improve the UK’s Grassroots Music Venues, is constantly evolving to meet the challenges identified for members of the Music Venues Alliance. As the organisation develops, it needs to ensure that it has the skills and experience required from its Board of Trustees to represent the breadth of its work.

Ellie and Bengi join 8 other Trustees who specialise in charity, planning and licensing law, cultural funding, music industry, marketing, multi-media, venue management and artist networking. The new Board represents a broad range of experience to ensure that when championing venues MVT is mindful of the needs of the artists who play there as well as the connections between Grassroots Music Venues and the wider cultural and music industries. Legal, policy and financial concerns are covered and communication about the charity’s work is central. The Music Venues Alliance now represents 440 venues across the UK, making it the largest membership body for music venues in Europe. Acting on behalf of those members is a responsibility MVT takes very seriously.

Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice

Alice Rowsell
“Without independent, Grassroots Venues I’m not sure my band would be where we are today. They offered me a chance to play without knowing the first thing about how the industry worked. They bring originality, equality, opportunity, character and spunk to the cities they reside in and now more than ever is the time to fight to keep them going!”


Bengi Unsal, Senior Contemporary Music Programmer at Southbank Centre

Bengi Unsal
Photo Credit: Cesare de Giglio for Southbank Centre
“Having run a music venue myself, I am very aware of the crucial role the Grassroots Venues play in nurturing young talent in today’s competitive music industry. These intimate spaces offer fans an unparalleled gig experience and provide bands an essential platform to be discovered and to grow their audiences at the early stages of their career. Some of my most cherished memories in music are from concerts and gigs at such venues! I am very honoured to be part of this incredible network which is entirely dedicated to keeping the live music industry going and ensuring that the UK remains an amazing hub for emerging music venues with a huge impact on the global music.”

As well as bringing in new areas of expertise, the Music Venue Trust has also moved to appoint Sarah Thirtle (Creative United) as Co-Chair alongside Chris Prosser (ILMC, IQ), creating specific lead roles that address music industry and cultural sector opportunities equally.

Sarah Thirtle, Creative United

Sarah Thirtle
“I am honoured and delighted to be asked to be the Co-Chair of the Music Venue Trust, alongside Chris Prosser. Having been part of the Board of Trustees for about a year and a half, I have experienced first-hand the passion and dedication of the whole team that drives the charity. There are numerous challenges facing Grassroots Music Venues.

Our vision is for this sector to be valued, invested in and thriving, securing these vital cultural spaces for our towns and cities. Eventually, we will hold in trust, for the nation, these cultural assets for future generations to continue to enjoy. Until then, I look forward to helping shape the Music Venue Trust’s initiatives which aim to raise the profile of this too often overlooked sector, stimulate debate, influence policy, and ultimately pave the way to attracting partners, funders and friends to help us achieve our mission.”

MVT’s recent initiatives include:
7 Regional and National Venues Meetings across the UK
Fightback – a series of fundraising concerts to raise money for the Emergency Response Service which offers expert help to venues under threat
Earn Your Stripes – bursaries for 50 interns to learn practical skills in grassroots music venues
Fightback: Grassroots Promoters – support for 200 new promoters to put on their first show with a toolkit, mentor and underwriting
• A redesigned membership package for MVA members offering support from partner organisations
• Work with Scottish, Welsh and English Governments on Agent of Change – with adoption into policy in England and Wales announced in late July 2018

Next on the agenda is national networking event Venues Day 2018 which takes place at Islington Assembly on Wednesday 17 October.

2019-03-25T12:05:32+00:00August 2nd, 2018|

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