The UK is set to lose 10% of grassroots music venues by the end of 2023, Music Venue Trust (MVT) reports.
In a statement on MVT’s official website, Rebecca Walker, the organisation’s Live Projects Coordinator says “there is a well-documented and evidenced crisis at grassroots level.
“We have new and emerging artists who want to tour, venues who are desperate to host them, audiences that want to see them, but the financial obstacles have simply become too great.”
In a statement to NME, MVT has disclosed that 67 venues have already closed this year, with 90 venues working with the Music Venue Trust Emergency Response team.
Of those 90 grassroots music venues, roughly half are expected to close before the end of the year. As a result, the UK is set to lose a whopping 10% of grassroots music venues with closures to reach approximately 100 by 2024.
It is well documented that the energy crisis has deepened the grassroots venues funding epidemic. Mark Davyd, the MVT CEO, outlined this in his speech to Parliament in January: “we have venues with a profit margin of 0.2% facing a seven percent increase in their energy costs on April 1.” In a bid to protect grassroots venues, MVT launched the Own Our Venues initiative in May 2022 which they have described as “the National Trust, but for venues”.
In March 2023, MVT successfully concluded its funding campaign and moved ahead with modelling the purchase of the first set of Grassroots Music Venues. Another community ownership project in Lewisham, Sister Midnight, represents a growing push by the public to take matters into their own hands.
Mark Davyd argues that the grassroots music venue crisis cannot be saved by public ownership schemes alone, and calls on UK’s large arenas to “contribute to the security of the wider music ecosystem.”
You can support grassroots music venues and donate to the Music Venue Trust here.
Tibor Heskett is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter.
Written by: Tim Hopkins