The Music Venue Trust
Music Venue Trust is a charity working to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues (GMVs) throughout the UK. They campaign in parliament, working directly with MPs. The MVT also consult with specialists for all areas of venue management, providing support for funding, building planning, licensing, noise complaints and more. Their support, protects small venues from being bulldozed by hard-hitting legislature while giving advice and a helping hand in times of need.
Earlier this year, their campaign for reduced business rates for struggling small music venues was successfully implemented by parliament for England & Wales, granting a 50% reduction for GMVs. On top of this they managed to secure the future of iconic London venue The 100 Club, by securing them a 100% business rates reduction. This is a huge step for music venue preservation and this cost difference can mean life or death for a venue. The next step (before the lockdown) was to expand this reduction to the rest of the UK.
The Trust also act as an emergency support lifeline for struggling venues on the brink of closure, working directly and personally with each venue in difficult times. They find creative solutions to keep venues operational while improving upon their efficiency and performance for venues to sustain themselves in the long run. This is a hugely beneficial resource for small venues, which are often independently run with very small crews of staff and extremely tight budgets. In the last year, the MVT emergency response service has successfully won 91 of its 96 cases to prevent venues from closure, the other 5 are still ongoing.
During the crisis the MVT has been our main source of reliable and clear information specific to music venues, as they tirelessly compile and share up to date information, for the UK as a whole and for the devolved nations, all while keeping in constant contact with music venues and parliament.
The MVT directly contacted and assessed music venues all over the UK, discovering more than 550 GMVs under immediate threat of closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today they have launched their #SaveOurVenues campaign, bringing music venues together with artists and local communities for a mass fundraising event in association with Crowdfunder. Impressively, Crowdfunder are waiving all of their fees (they are even paying the transaction fees themselves) for fundraisers brought on by the coronavirus crisis.
The idea is that artists can ‘adopt a venue’ of their choosing and host live-streams or fundraising events, generating donations for either a chosen venue or to the main campaign fund. The main pot of funding will be used to save venues in desperate need. Each venue in the campaign has their own fundraiser set at an amount of their choosing for what their individual venue needs to survive at the moment, while any overfunding past their goal will be sent to the central pot to help others in need.
For venues closed in this crisis, income has completely ceased while overheads roll on, and for many, government support has already been exhausted. Though it is fruitless to speculate about how lockdown conditions may be lifted, it is likely that music venues would be the very last businesses allowed to reopen, meaning that significantly more support will be needed to sustain us. Venues really are ‘all in this together’, as we rely upon each other to create a full network that artists are able to tour through. For the live music industry to survive this crisis, we need all venues to survive.
The support of the MVT is invaluable right now, as is the support of all of you. At the moment we have not yet created our own crowdfunder within the #SaveOurVenues platform, but we expect that we will need to in the near future with large bills coming due. We were hoping to save major crowdfunding as a last resort in order to exhaust all other options first, but that may be optimistic. All of us at The Jazz Bar are extremely grateful to those who have already donated to us directly via PayPal, as this money will help us to sustain our staff and freelance workers in dire straits. Thank you as well to all who have purchased music or merchandise from their local artists, or donated to their virtual tip jars, as they are deeply affected by this crisis.
If you are able, please consider donating to any of your favourite venues on the #SaveOurVenues map, or directly to the central funding pot.
Visit www.saveourvenues.co.uk to get involved.
You can continue to support us and the professional musicians who are struggling right now, by donating what you might usually spend on an entry fee or a drink, or any other amount that you wish. Professional musicians and all hospitality/event staff are facing an incredibly difficult time, having seen months of steady work disappear over-night. Any donations would be extremely appreciated to help us to continue to pay our staff through our closure and support our local event staff community in any way that we can.
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