The Music Venue Trust, representing hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK, has issued an urgent warning to the UK government that an immediate cash injection of £50m is needed to prevent mass closures across July, August and September.
The ongoing cancellations of tours and gigs over the last few months has been catastrophic for musicians and venues alike, leading the trust to identify the rescue package as essential for a large proportion of its member venues.
Alongside the cash injection, the trust is proposing a one-off cut in VAT on ticket sales for the next three years to help venues and promoters recover from the impact of the pandemic.
Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said of the warning, “When we eventually emerge from lockdown, grassroots music venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world-beating £5.2 billion per year industry has been built, are going to be essential to live music bouncing back. It is therefore economically short-sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50 million investment.”
The warning follows the launch of the Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign in this April. Dayvd said of the response to this campaign: “The £2m we have raised to date has saved literally hundreds of venues in the short term, but the situation is still dire and relying on donations simply isn’t sustainable as we move into a recovery phase. With that in mind let’s act now and protect what we have, because what we have is incredible and it is ridiculous to put ourselves in the position where we might permanently lose it for less than 1% of the income it generates for us every single year. £50 million in financial support and a temporary tax cut, that’s all we are asking. Who loses if this doesn’t happen? Not just the venues, not just the artists, not just the audiences, not just our communities. The government is the biggest loser of all here; billions of pounds of future tax revenues is on the line. Every other serious cultural country in the world is acting to protect its future talent pipeline…. and they don’t even have the incredible talent and the vibrant pipeline we have in the UK. We need our government to step up, and we need them to do it now.”