A Manifesto for Grassroots Music Venues 2019
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.
We strongly urge the next Government to revisit the DCMS Live Music Report of March 2019.
This cross party report highlighted the opportunity for a new positive approach to our Grassroots Music Venues, which would strengthen their resilience, provide them with the support they need, and remove barriers to their ability to fulfill their essential role at the heart of our communities.
The next generation of artists deserve a world class touring network in which to build their careers. The next Government has policy opportunities to deliver that network.
The 5 essential commitments for the next government:
- 1. Reform Business Rates for Grassroots Music Venues so that the burden of an unfair and unjust taxation system is removed
- 2. Create additional funding opportunities for Grassroots Music Venues that directly support their infrastructure and their ability to provide high quality facilities to artists and local communities
- 3. Establish a Culture and Heritage Tax Relief so that the underlying long-term issue of ownership of Grassroots Music Venues can be tackled
- 4. Expand existing Research and Development Tax Relief to specifically include development of new talent
- 5. Establish a Statutory Right of Consultation on planning and development so that Grassroots Music Venues enjoy the same protections as Theatres.
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
- Grassroots Music Venues invest £100 million a year in the production, delivery and development of new and emerging artists, losing over £20 million a year on this essential development activity
- 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 £4.5 billion to the UK Economy in 2018.
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
Lord Tim Clement-Jones
Nigel Adams MP
Patrick Grady MP
What other countries are already doing:
Austin Texas is creating a new funding mechanism for Grassroots Music Venues to directly underpin their investment in new and emerging artists, a $3.5 million investment fund created from the Hotels Occupancy Tax.
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 these pubs and clubs, musicians don’t develop. They don’t get a taste of what it would be like to live as a full time musician. And without musicians, you’ve got no new music and without new music it’s a very bland and shitty world.
So that’s why we support Music Venue Trust. Because everyone needs a place to start out and you also need to learn how to be in an audience and a lot of those small venues are the first ones that people visit as a music lover.
So for artists and music lovers, these Grassroots places are absolutely essential.
Let’s look after them.”
– Guy Garvey, Elbow
Ellie Rowsell, Wolf Alice
The music industry can definitely affect a change. Labels, managers, big promoters, booking agents, artists and bigger live venues can group together and start to repair the UK’s reputation in live music by supporting initiatives like the Music Venue Trust.”