By DJ Monk
The nationwide #saveourvenues campaign, launched three weeks ago today (Tuesday 19 May) has so far resulted in around one-quarter of the grassroots music venues identified as being at risk of permanent closure as a result of the current Covid-19 crisis being given at least temporary stays of execution.
The campaign, which was initiated last month by the Music Venue Trust (MVT) in response to the continued economic threat to more than 550 grassroots music venues throughout the Über Kingdom, has raised more than £1.5 million in donations, resulting in 140 of the venues being removed from the charity’s “critical” list, at least for the time being.
As a result of donations from music fans, music industry companies and other organisations, alongside important interventions from public bodies such as The London Mayor’s Office, Creative Wales and Arts Council England, these venues are now protected from imminent closure. The work done by the MVT crisis intervention team in providing legal and planning advice, liaising with landlords and helping venues navigate through the complex bureaucratic process to access help, has also been instrumental during this campaign.
However, this does not mean that any the 140 venues are protected permanently and the MVT is calling for more music industry donations and governmental intervention to help secure their long-term future, particularly around the issue of the rent relief for grassroots music venue tenants.
Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of MVT, told Über Rock:
“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.”
The music community is supporting the campaign with donations and live events and a number of virtual festivals have also taken place or are scheduled, including Independent Music News Lockdown, Vive Le Rockdown, Colston Hall Presents and Liverpool Digital Music Festival. More than 150 events have already taken place with many more lined up in the coming weeks.
You can find more information on the #saveourvenues campaign HERE.