NEWS: Music Venue Trust launches new initiative to Own Our Venues
Since 2014, Music Venue Trust has been working to protect, serve and secure UK grassroots music venues. During lockdown it galvanised support with its #SaveOurVenues campaign in an attempt to save as many venues as possible from closure at the most traumatic of times.
Today they are launching their biggest campaign to date #OwnOurVenues. They are proposing a radical change to the ownership of these grassroots music venues aiming to get landlords and private companies out of that ownership, and replace them with a benevolent owner: Music Venue Properties
35% of Grassroots Music Venues have closed in the last 20 years.
93% of Grassroots Music Venues are tenants and the average operator has 18 months left on the tenancy.
Since the start of the COVID crisis the sector acquired over new £90m of debt, yet 67% of the Cultural Recovery Fund grant money was paid to Landlords.
Grassroots Music Venues and Landlords have different motivations. Landlords want to maximise investment. Grassroots Music Venues want to plan for the future, invest in sustainability, accessibility, diversity, artists and the venue itself.
The issue of ownership underlies almost every other challenge that Grassroots Music Venues have faced during the last 20 years: gentrification, noise complaints, under investment, poor economic model and an inability to plan for the future.
Music Venue Trust (MVT) has set up a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) names Music Venue Properties (MVP). Unlike a Charity, a CCBS can raise money via Community Shares.
By purchasing these shares, music fans and ethical investors will help raise funds MVP will use to buy freeholds, whilst also receiving 3% APR on their investment.
MVT can offer the majority of current operators an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance. MVP would be able to offer long-term security and market resistant rents.
MVT #SaveOurVenues campaign raised over £4.1m with over 80,000 people contributing during COVID. The crowd already exists.
What Happens Next?:
MVT want the music community to be shareholders in Music Venue Properties. They us all to become the owners of the grassroots music venues we love.
MVP has identified 9 venues for a pilot project that will allow them to establish proof of concept.
6 venues are in England, 1 in Scotland and 2 in Wales.
The Community Share Offer launches today with a view of purchasing these venues before the end of 2022.
MVT has said:
“This project would significantly improve the resilience of the sector by establishing a protected lease status for music venues which encourages creative practice – if a venue operator can run a great venue, they will have security of tenancy for as long as they can use it.”
God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.