Rou Reynolds, Enter Shikari:

“Having a strong grassroots venue circuit in the UK is so important. It’s the breeding ground for new and exciting, or niche and inventive music.

I now have the privilege of being a well established artist but I still care greatly about grassroots venues, if only for the reason that if there’s no smaller venues, that means there’s nowhere for me to go and see exciting new bands and steal their ideas…

Popular music as a whole with its wonderful tributaries, sub-genres and variety relies on the influx of new, interesting, progressive music. That’s it’s nutrients. That’s the inspiration that keeps popular music as a whole, interesting.

So if smaller venues aren’t supported we not only lose new artists, we also lose artistry and diversity, and then popular music in its entirety suffers.

British pop music is still considered the best in the world. One of the reasons for that is because we have an incredibly diverse population. We have a constant inflow of influences from all around the world. Artists are spoilt by this platter of creative inspiration at our finger tips. But that won’t remain the case if we keep taking away the tables that this flavourful platter is presented on.

The last decade has been tough for live music, almost every venue that my band considered a milestone to play, from our local youth club to the Astoria is now gone. And we’ve seen the damage these closures have done to local music scenes and to communities in general. But worst of all though – these venue closures make me feel old! I’m always banging on “oh that used to be a venue back in my day, oh we played there when it was a venue” and I don’t like feeling old! So it’s great that we have the Music Venue Trust and we have this wealth of knowledge that’s about to be disseminated in these books. This supporting apparatus is vital in order to support the new venues and their communities.

Because that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day, especially within the current political climate. Having places where people can come together and celebrate community and creativity is more important than ever. I know from personal experience that these are the places where friendships are made, where identities are formed and where people’s worlds are broadened.

Thank you all for being here and thank you for all the hard work that MVT does. Big up.”