Venues Day 2019

Venues Day 2019 is the national networking event for the UK Grassroots Music Venue sector. This annual gathering of venue representatives and the industries that support the sector is the largest event in the world for small venues and sells out every year.

Wednesday 9 October, 10am – 5:30pm
Islington Assembly Hall, London
Tickets on sale now:
All venues who are members of the Music Venues Alliance are entitled to discounted tickets. Please contact [email protected] to find out more.


Jump to: Schedule | Welcome Speaker KT Tunstall | Opening Panel | Networking Opportunities & Meetings with Experts

Get The Balance Right

How to respond to competing demands and still do what you need to

Venues Day 2019 Schedule

Registration & Coffee
Where: Main Hall + Balcony
Marketplace Open & Networking
Where: Main Hall
Welcome and Intro with special guest KT Tunstall
Where: Main Hall + Balcony
Steve Lamacq presents
Tales from the Frontline

Where: Main Hall + Balcony
Interviews with 5 inspiring venues from our network: Nick Stewart (Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh), Sam Dabb (Le Public Space, Newport), Jay Taylor (Night & Day Café, Manchester), Toni Coe-Brooker & Ambre France (Green Door Store, Brighton), Paul Jackson (The New Adelphi Club, Hull)


Networking Lunch
Where: Buffet served in 1st Floor Committee Room, Town Hall + Main Hall


Your Venue & Our Movement: MVT Town Hall
Where: Committee Room 1, Islington Town Hall & Council Chamber, Islington Town Hall
Two Threads of Discussion Exploring Balancing Issues in Your Venue and the MVT/MVA Movement (click here for details)

Bookable Appointments with experts
Where: The Vineyard, The Hub: Yellow Room & Blue Room, Main Hall
Sandbox Booking, Sandbox Funding, MVT’s Gurus & PRS for Music offer one-to-one appointments for delegates (click here for details)
Marketplace Trade/Information Stands
Where: Main Hall
Visit our partners’ stands for information on a range of services and products relevant to your venue. Space is provided for individual or small group meetings
Jack Daniel’s Free Pop-Up Bar
Where: Main Hall
Wrap up
Where: Main Hall


Welcome Speaker KT Tunstall

We are delighted to announce that BRIT Awards and The Ivors Academy award winning artist KT Tunstall will be our special guest Welcome Speaker for this year’s Venues Day. KT is a patron of Music Venue Trust.

KT Tunstall

KT Tunstall
“Small, Grassroots Music Venues are essential to the health of the contemporary music scene in the U.K. Without this network, new artists have no opportunity to cut their teeth and essentially train for the bigger stages which provide the U.K. with a phenomenal global musical reputation as well as providing a significant financial boost to the overall economy.”



Opening Panel: Steve Lamacq presents Tales From The Frontline

One of the most popular features of Venues Day is the ability to network with other venues and to hear and be inspired by their stories. We are delighted to announce that Steve Lamacq will be returning to Venues Day this year to host our opening panel Tales From The Frontline, with his very special guests Nick Stewart (Sneaky Pete’s), Sam Dabb (Le Pub), Jay Taylor (Night & Day Cafe), Toni Coe-Brooker & Ambre France (The Green Door Store) and Paul Jackson (The New Adelphi Club). With over 100 years of experience collectively of running, promoting and programming Grassroots Music Venues, Steve will be getting in depth with these five amazing venues to talk through what it is like to be at the cutting edge of the grassroots scene.

Steve Lamacq, BBC Radio 6 Music

Steve Lamacq, BBC Radio 6 Music
“Every town should have a variety of places where people can go. Every town should have somewhere independent of thought and spirit to provide an alternative place where people can meet and make new friends, and come away feeling engaged and inspired. Every community wants a place that it can be proud of. Somewhere which represents them.

Socially, culturally, creatively, we need venues. There are thousands of bands out there and thousands of music fans who’ve had their lives changed by going to Grassroots Music Venues. Let’s never stop remembering how important they are.”



Networking Opportunities and Meetings with Experts

More than a conference, Venues Day has always been about connecting people and sharing information that can help venues moving forward. This year sees even more choice in one-to-one meetings that delegates can book.

We are delighted to announce the return of Sandbox Booking, an interactive area at Venues Day 2019 which provides an opportunity for Speed Networking between the UK’s top Agents and your Grassroots Music Venue.


Now in its third year, Sandbox is a partnership between Music Venue Trust and the UK’s leading live music agencies, ITB, CAA, Paradigm, UTA, Primary, 13 Artists, ATC, Money Penny, Pitch & Smith and independent agent Mark Bennett. Sandbox is your chance to speak directly with agents working in this sector, to make the case for your venue to get the tours and artists you want, speed networking with the people who can help you get great diverse line ups. It’s proved to be one of the most popular and effective elements of Venues Day, providing a real chance for venues to make the case for themselves to the agents who matter.


New for this year is Sandbox Funding, an opportunity to book meetings with Arts Council England and PRS Foundation to learn about the funding available to your venue. Arts Council England will specifically be offering guidance about applying to the Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund announced earlier this year. MVT and have been working closely together to ensure that venues have all the support they need to make an application and are delighted to announce that The Macbeth in London is an early recipient of funding.

Claire Mera-Nelson, Head of Music at ACE

Claire Mera-Nelson
“Arts Council England’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund was created in response to the needs of small venues across the country just like the Macbeth, and we are delighted that they have been successful in obtaining a grant to support a developing and expanding programme. A team of Arts Council Relationship Managers from across England will be on hand at Venues Day to offer advice and guidance to Grassroots Music Venues. We are looking forward to ensuring venues of all kinds understand how to register and apply for our grant funding.”


Venues Day delegates will also have opportunity to book appointments with MVT’s Gurus, experts in such vital areas as planning, licensing, acoustics and legal issues. A team from PRS for Music will be on hand to talk through Setlist, their new mechanism for reporting which will reduce the amount of work GMVs need to do while still ensuring songwriters get paid for use of their work.