FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Can you help my band get a gig?
No – that’s not what we do. But we can help your band have the prospect that there might still be somewhere worth playing in a few years time, which we think is pretty important.
I’ve started a petition to save my local venue will you support it?
Yes, we probably will, but what we actually need is a legal framework, a strategy and policy that means that we don’t need any more petitions. Our plan is about the long term, but we’ll do all we can within the time available to support whatever is happening to your venue locally.
Why should venues get special treatment?
Well, actually we think they should get special treatment because they play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any town or city lucky enough to have one. Without these Music Venues, we wouldn’t have had the The Beatles, The Clash, Kate Bush, Dire Straits or Radiohead. And if we don’t recognise the role they play there won’t be any more Adeles or Ed Sheerans. But in reality we aren’t actually asking for ‘special treatment’. Ways of recognising the important role theatres, arts centres, community centres, cinemas, sports halls, parks, recreation centres and concert halls play in our communities are already out there. We’d argue for special treatment for Music Venues because we’re biased and we love live music, but even if we can’t agree on that, let’s agree that they shouldn’t be treated worse than any other cultural or sports activity.
My local venue makes a noise. Are you saying that I have to put up with it?
No, we think Music Venues should be good neighbours, and we think that if they don’t do that then there should be enforcement through the law to ensure that they meet a good standard of neighbourliness. But we have to be practical and say that Music Venues make noise. Music is a noise. Noise is a nuisance. Is music therefore a nuisance? We don’t think so.
Aren’t Music Venues just businesses?
Nobody is getting rich running a Music Venue at this level. Most of them are struggling to survive. We’ve currently defined, through law and taxation, that they are businesses, but most of them are really closer to being social enterprises or even charities. Pop into your local venue and ask them if there’s anything you can do to help.
If the local Music Venue closes, won’t another one just open?
This is applying the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule long after we can see that it is actually broken and it will really need fixing. Rising property prices, aggressive development, nuisance laws and the state of the music industry have combined to create a real and tangible drop in the number of Music Venues, and the ones that have survived are under real pressure. Across the UK we’ve seen cities losing their last good small venue and it not being replaced. Ask yourself this; if you had half a million to spare right now, would you open a small Music Venue as a business venture?
You have a lot of stuff on this website and in your media output that’s all about “strategy” and “policy” and “long term plans” and you seem a bit cosy with politicians; it’s not very rock and roll is it?
No, it isn’t, and that’s why we like to play Andrew WK very loudly while we patiently deal with the need to write a report about a minor and apparently insignificant change to the National Planning Framework. We talk like this and present ourselves like this because someone has to make the case in a way that politicians and policy makers understand and can respond to. By doing it this way, we hope we enable your local venue to continue to be as rock and roll as they want to be. You’re welcome to buy us a drink. You’ll find we don’t tend to spend too much time at the bar discussing “fiscal returns from a long term strategic investment in a grassroots sector that encourages development of night time economy zones” and quite a bit discussing the Super Furry Animals’ tank.
Will you come and speak at this conference/panel/university/meeting/wedding?
We receive many requests to speak at events in the UK and beyond but we have a limited ability to do so due to the fact that Music Venue Trust is a charity which does not have any core funding to enable us to do that AND it’s a small organisation making a lot of noise so we don’t have a lot of people to do it either. There seem to be a tremendous number of these conferences which all seem very useful and are the kind of things we’d like to input into and it would probably be useful to do so, but it’s a time and money issue so please don’t feel we are not interested if we have to say no. Sometimes a request comes in that fits well with something we are already committed to so feel free to ask.
I’m a student and as part of my coursework/dissertation I’d be really grateful if you could answer the following questions…
We are always delighted to hear that our work is coming to the attention of students and tutors but we would ask you to bear in mind the following points before sending us an email like the one above:
1. Music Venue Trust is a very small organisation with very limited resources – we have a big mission but a very small core team – and no, you cannot come to our office to ask us questions because it is a home office.
2. A lot of information about when we were founded, what our aims are, who we are and who supports our work is in the public domain on this very website. Please read it thoroughly to check whether we have already answered your question.
3. Our research report ‘Understanding Small Music Venues‘ is also available to read in its entirety on this website. As are a number of other important reports, studies and documents which can be found in the Resources section.
4. If a number of students are interested in Music Venue Trust’s work and it is relevant to your course syllabus perhaps talk to your tutor about finding some money to bring us in and talk with you. We like doing this but it has to be practical for us and our costs would need to be covered.
5. If you have read everything on the website and still have a burning question then please email [email protected]. It helps if you say that you’ve read this guidance in your message.
How can I volunteer for/get involved in the work of Music Venue Trust?
As a registered charity we would be delighted to be in the position to welcome volunteers on board but unfortunately it is just too early in the development of the organisation to do this. Music Venue Trust is a very small organisation with very limited resources – we have a big mission but we only have one full-time and 2 part-time members of staff. Volunteering demands a commitment from both parties in terms of investment of time and energy and we have not yet reached a point where we could manage a volunteer and still do the work we need to do. Sorry.