Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced a new campaign #saveourvenues, in response to the continued economic threat to over 500 grassroots music venues throughout the UK. Following on from the launch of their Grassroots Music Venues (GMV) Crisis fund last month, #saveourvenues is aimed at artists, music fans, and the wider music industry and aims to raise both money and awareness.
To date, the GMV Crisis Fund has raised over £182,000 thanks to significant donations from Amazon Music, SJM, a number of high-profile artists and music fans throughout the UK. From today The GMV Crisis Fund will be re-named the #saveourvenues fund and will form part of a wider initiative that will see artists raising money for individual venues with whom they have a personal connection.
Artists are being encouraged to choose a venue that is currently in crisis from an interactive map and dropdown menu, which can be found on the campaign website at www.saveourvenues.co.uk. Those artists will then be given the tools and guidance to perform an ‘at home’ gig in support of that particular venue. Each venue will have its own crowdfunding page with a clear target of the funds it needs to raise to stay afloat throughout this difficult period. Once a target is reached any excess revenue will go to the central #saveourvenues fund to help the wider grassroots music venue community.
Currently, 556 venues are at risk including The Sugarmill in Stoke-on-Trent. “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” said Danni Brownsill, the venue’s chief booker and promoter.
Artists are also being asked to support the #saveourvenues initiative via their social media platforms using the #saveourvenues hashtag and directing their fans to shows they are performing as part of this initiative and signposting the way to the www.saveourvenues.co.uk website where donations can be made.
One of the main drivers of this initiative is Frank Turner whose recent series of ‘Independent Venue Love’ shows, (which took place at different times to provide access for both European and North American audiences) for local venues Nambucca (London), The Joiners (Southampton), the Railway Inn (Winchester), The Shed (Leicester) and The Forum (Tunbridge Wells), raised thousands of pounds and provided a major inspiration for this campaign.
Frank Turner 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 at 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.”
One venue rescued from closure by Frank Turner’s recent efforts is the Tunbridge Wells Forum. Co-founder Jason Dormon said, “Frank Turner has always championed the grassroots sector, having grown up and learned his craft in these venues. His generosity and commitment are truly admirable; he inspires live music fans to come together and unite in raising awareness and funds for the UK's grassroots music venues. We were totally overwhelmed and heartened by Frank’s help and the support and generosity of the local community.”
Music fans are encouraged to show their support by engaging with the #saveourvenues shows and donating to their local venue’s crowdfunding pages but can also choose to donate directly to the main #saveourvenues fund via the campaign website.
The wider music industry is also being encouraged to donate to the main #saveourvenues fund and those wishing to donate in excess of £1,000 are asked to contact Music Venue Trust founder and CEO Mark Davyd directly on email@example.com
Mark Davyd said, “Frank Turner’s amazing initiative proved that together artists and music fans can go a long way to helping at-risk grassroots music venues get through this period of lockdown. We are building on his good work with the #saveourvenues campaign and are confident that we can help create real momentum that will see artists and venues working together to raise much-needed funds. We are also calling on the wider music industry to support us too. 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.”