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NEWS: Music Venue Trust announce eight new patrons

Music Venue Trust (MVT), the charity that represents hundreds of UK Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs), has announced eight new patrons who have joined the ever-expanding list of advocates for the UK’s grassroots music sector.

Singer/songwriters Jamie Webster, Hamish Hawk and Hannah White, DJ Jeff Automatic, bands Reverend and the Makers, Noah & The Loners and CHROMA, and Minister for Creative Industries John Whittingdale will support the work of the charity and share the importance of Grassroots Music Venues and their crucial role in the music industry’s ecosystem. The new patrons join musicians including Sir Paul McCartney, Nova Twins, Frank Turner and Tim Burgess, broadcasters including Steve Lamacq and Gemma Bradley, and patrons from industry and politics including Sony Music’s Jason Iley and Kerry McCarthy MP.

Whilst the top tier of the live industry (arenas, stadiums, outdoor concerts) had a remarkably successful year in 2023, promoting hundreds of additional large-scale events at significantly increased ticket prices featuring artists originally nurtured by the grassroots sector, the UK lost a record number of Grassroots Music Venues – over 120 grassroots venues (15%) have closed, with more than 80 currently in crisis.

As well as being important in the local communities, GMVs are widely acknowledged as the ‘research and development’ department of the music industry. Speaking about becoming a patron Scottish musician Hamish Hawk said “My life in music has been a life spent in grassroots music venues, and I can say without hesitation that it’s to those venues I owe my career. I don’t expect I will ever repay the debt I owe to those dedicated venue teams who have supported and encouraged me over the years; to this day their passion, dedication and expertise are a vital source of inspiration for me. They are the lifeblood of British music, and must be safeguarded by any means possible.” 

Reverend and the Makers‘ Jon & Laura McClure said,

‘Small venues are the backbone of the music industry. They are where you’re delivered from practice room to public; where you find out who you are as a musician and a performer and who your fans will be. There’s nothing like a sweaty gig and some of the best stories we have from our career so far come from small venues. They are the soul of live music. That’s why we are honoured to be patrons of the music venue trust and give other artists the support we have had.”

While Noah and the Loners added,

“For us as a band, Music Venue Trust has made a huge difference in helping kickstart our careers. So many young bands have to wait years to fund their first tour, often with minimal support, but the fact MVT made the whole thing possible for a young band like us is amazing… MVT are such an important organisation and we really can’t thank them enough for the opportunities they’ve given us and the good they do for the grassroots music scene.”

Working with patrons to highlight the value of GMVs is one of many initiatives put in place by the charity to protect, secure and improve the UK’s grassroots music sector. In 2022 the charity launched Music Venue Properties the groundbreaking new initiative – the first of its kind in the world – which is, by purchasing the freeholds, helping to secure long-term futures for Britain’s treasured GMVs. To date, more than £2.3million has been raised and the first venue – The Snug in Atherton – was purchased this autumn.

MVT has also been vociferously campaigning for the wider live music industry to financially support the grassroots music sector, proposing that every ticket sold at an arena and stadium should make a £1 contribution to its Pipeline Investment Fund.

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Noah and the Loners

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.