140 grassroots music venues saved - but it's "only a short-term fix"

Music Venue Trust crowdfund campaign to save 556 venues from closure has raised £1.5 million

Skiddle Staff

Last updated: 20th May 2020

Finally, a bit of good news.

Earlier this month, we reported on the launch of the #SaveOurVenues campaign by the charity Music Venue Trust (MVT).

According to the charity, 556 independent live music venues across the UK were facing the threat of closure following the outbreak of COVID-19. The crowdfunding campaign aims to raise funds by encouraging artists to perform online benefit gigs for venues they have a personal connection with.

So far artists and bands including Frank Turner, Bastille and Wolf Alice have taken part in the project.

Speaking on our music industry podcast series, The Guest List, MVT CEO Mark Davyd described the situation as "very, very serious" and said that the charity had estimated that collectively venues were set to "lose thirteen million between the 27th April and 31st May".

Now after three weeks of fundraising, the charity says 140 grassroots venues have been removed from its 'critical list' - meaning they are 'now protected from imminent closure'.

A statement from the charity says so far it has raised £1.5 million in donations from 'music fans, music industry companies and other organisations', as well as 'important interventions from public bodies' including The London Mayor’s Office, Creative Wales and Arts Council England.

Over 400 venues still face imminent closure, however, and the charity is calling for more in the way of donations and government support.

Davyd said: “The fact we have managed to remove 140 grassroots music venues off of our critical list in the last three weeks is, of course, a cause for celebration, but we are not complacent as this is only a relatively short-term fix.

"Whilst the immediate threat of closure for these venues has been halted, they are still under real threat in the coming months as are over 400 others. This is a good start and we can’t emphasise how grateful we are to those music fans, music industry companies and public organisations who have supported the #saveourvenues campaign so far, but we cannot relax as we still have a mountain to climb to secure the long-term future of this sector.

We still desperately need more music industry companies to step up and help with donations alongside real action from government, specifically around rent relief, more financial help and clearer guidance.”

You can support the #SaveOurVenues campaign here.

Main image: Windmill Brixton