New voices of support for Music Venue Trust’s work


Music Venue Trust is proud to announce 5 new patrons who have added their voices to support the charity’s work to secure the long-term future of the UK’s grassroots music venue circuit. Following October’s Venues Day 2017 event, which had a focus on artists and venues exploring how they can work together to protect and improve these vital venues, keynote speaker Steve Lamacq (BBC Radio 6 Music) and panellists Charlotte Brimner (Be Charlotte) and Rhoda Dakar agreed to become charity patrons. They join Elbow and Bright Light Bright Light in endorsing MVT’s work.

 Guy Garvey from Elbow said, “Without these pubs and clubs, musicians don’t develop. They don’t get a taste of what it would be like to live as a full-time musician. And without musicians you’ve got no new music and without new music it’s a very bland and shitty world. So that’s why we support Music Venue Trust. Because everyone needs a place to start out and you also need to learn how to be in an audience and a lot of small venues are the first ones that people visit as a music lover.”

 Rhoda Dakar, a musician with many years’ experience of performing live as a solo artist, DJ and as part of bands such as The Bodysnatchers and Special AKA, said Popular music is an art form. Until it starts to take itself seriously as such, on a par with theatre, opera and classical music, it is unlikely to be deemed so by others. I have been performing in public since the 1960s. I may have picked up a thing or two along the way. I try to put on a very good show. However, venue facilities are often woefully short of what is on offer in Europe. The industry has made money, but this has almost never been reinvested into the grassroots. And there’s absolutely nothing from the Arts Council. We trade on the cultural capital of popular music, but seem to feel musicians do better if mistreated. I’m still offered sub-standard dressing rooms, as if it were some sort of rite of passage. Give us the opportunity to do good work and we will.”

Teenage songwriter and performer Charlotte Brimner of Be Charlotte said, “When I was 14 years old I started searching for local open mic nights near my hometown of Dundee and pretty much all of the venues I played in were small and independently owned. It’s at those venues where I found my love for performing. It created a good environment where I could really discover what music I wanted to make and those early experiences helped me to build my confidence. Being able to develop skills in small venues around Scotland inspired me to take my live show all over the world. I don’t want to imagine a music scene without grassroots venues at the heart of it, and that’s why I’m so excited to be a patron of Music Venue Trust.  The success of these venues is crucial to aspiring musicians all over the country.”

Welsh born, London/New York based Rod Thomas, aka Bright Light Bright Light, added, Grassroots venues are probably the most important thing in the music industry in the UK. Every music fan you can imagine has a “I remember seeing [this huge band] back at my local venue and I can’t believe how huge they are now” story – and that’s such a big part of the magic of live music. From my experience, grassroots venues put so much love and care into their programming, trying to both understand their local area, and push the boundaries a bit so that people can have really exciting new music on their doorstep. Without this kind of venue, people like me would never had their first few shows. Even now, after opening for Elton John for a year, so many of the venues I play are smaller independent and grassroots venues, and so often they’re the most rewarding. Britain has so much talent, and there’s no way for that to shine without the initial platform that these venues provide.”

Steve Lamacq has been a long-term supporter of Music Venue Trust, contributing to Venues Day for the last 3 years. A film of this year’s keynote speech was watched 9,500 times on MVT’s Facebook pages, reducing many to tears as he spoke with passion about the social and cultural importance of feeling a part of venues such as The Square in Harlow (now closed) as a young person. “Every town should have a variety of places where people can go. Every town should have somewhere independent of thought and spirit to provide an alternative place where people can meet and make new friends, and come away feeling engaged and inspired. Every community wants a place that it can be proud of. Somewhere which represents them. There’s all this amazing music and art which needs a place to go. It might be new music, it might be niche music, but it deserves to be seen and heard. I think it’s critical that we encourage people who go against the grain or experiment and give them a space. I applaud the Music Venue Trust for taking on this job. Socially, culturally, creatively, we need venues. There are thousands of bands out there and thousands of music fans who’ve had their lives changed by going to grassroots music venues. Let’s never stop remembering how important they are.”

 Visit to read full testimonials from all of Music Venue Trust’s patrons.