The live music industry, like much of the nation, is in turmoil. According to the Music Venue Trust (MVT), over 550 grassroots music venues across the U.K. face closure in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Which is why the music charity has just announced the launch of a new #saveourvenues campaign (replacing the previous Grassroots Music Venue crisis fund) which will see artists raise money for venues they have a personal connection with. This is how it works:
Artists choose a venue that is currently in crisis from an interactive map. Those artists will then be given the tools to perform a gig at home in support of their chosen venue, which will have their own crowdfunding page. Once the venue's crowdfunding target is met, funds will go to the main #saveourvenues fund.
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Danni Brownsill is booker and promoter at once such at-risk venue, The Sugarmill in Stoke. "We're extremely proud to be a grassroots music venue. These spaces are pipelines for talent and absolute lifelines for the communities they serve and the talents therein. We cannot allow them to be consigned to the past. UK music culture as we know it will simply not exist without these spaces, so it is vital to protect them."
One artist already on board is Frank Turner, whose recent series of virtual shows raised thousands for venues including Nambucca (London), The Joiners (Southampton) and The Shed (Leicester). He said:
"The UK live music industry is staring into the abyss right now. I’m not able to save the whole thing on my own, but I decided to do a series of livestream shows to raise money for specific independent venues that I know and love, and that are in serious risk of disappearing right now.
"The success of these shows demonstrated the love that exists between music fans and their favourite grassroots music venues so the #saveourvenues campaign is a brilliant way of building on that and hopefully giving artists and music fans a chance to get involved and play a big part in helping them survive.”
The main campaign fund is (currently) aiming to raise one million pounds, and has already reached an impressive £707k. Music fans can donate here, and search through particular shows and venues here.
The wider music industry is also being encouraged to donate to the cause, with those wishing to donate in excess of £1,000 asked to contact Music Venue Trust founder and CEO, Mark Davyd (directly on firstname.lastname@example.org).
Davyd said: “We have received some magnificent support so far from music companies, but we need a lot more to step up and help save this essential part of the music ecosystem. We cannot stress enough how critical it is that the music industry supports the #saveourvenues campaign as without them over 500 of the UK’s grassroots music venues could go out of business, never to return, in the coming months. Please help us.”
You can find out more info by visiting www.saveourvenues.co.uk
Image: Leadmill Sheffield