As Music Venue Trust prioritise getting together with the venues which make up the Music Venues Alliance by holding meetings around the UK, artists and music industry figures are massing to support the charity’s work to protect, secure and improve grassroots music venues. They represent new and established artists, broadcasters and business people, all expressing the need for further help for this vital sector: The Wombats, Muncie Girls, Joe Talbot from Idles, The Pearl Harts, Vic Galloway of BBC Radio Scotland /6Music and George Akins, MD of DHP Family.
The Wombats: “Without grassroots music venues we would never have had a hope at becoming the band we are today. We spent 3 years playing tiny venues all over the country, sleeping on promoters’ floors and having adventure after adventure. These local, small venues are nearly always run by music lovers who want to be a part of the local music scene in their town/city and to give bands of all sizes, whether it’s their 1st or 50th show, an opportunity to perform. Without these venues, new local bands wouldn’t have a chance to learn important lessons in live performance skills and all the fun that goes along with it! We recently did a week of shows in conjunction with Music Venue Trust and had such a good time. The atmosphere at every show was electric. All the promoters we met were so happy to see so many beaming smiles and mosh pits and were telling us how much MVT help them and how difficult it can be as a small venue these days. I think these places are one of the most important crucibles of music throughout the world and need to be treated as such by people and governments alike. Without them, the British music scene and the musicians of tomorrow will not have the opportunities they need to hone their talent. We are very proud to be involved and look forward to doing more shows with MVT in the future!”
Muncie Girls: “As a band, we got our start touring the DIY punk scene playing in grassroots music venues around the UK. In fact, every member of Muncie Girls has worked at or organised shows or been involved with The Cavern in Exeter at one stage or another. Our connection to grassroots music venues runs deep, without these small venues bands like ours would not get booked, we would not have a diverse DIY scene and we would not be able to do what we love. For all these reasons, we are very proud to become Music Venue Trust patrons and fully support the work they do.”
Joe Talbot, Idles: “I am one of the privileged few who has been blessed with the opportunity to travel the world and have a platform on which my voice is heard and minds are met with a plethora of diverse people; after 8 years of playing venues across the UK, some tiny, some ornate, some dank and so on; there is one residing factor that runs through all the stages we have played and that is Community. The communities that have supported us as a band and weary travellers are built from hard-working and passionate individuals that collectively want for a brighter existence. Without those hard-working communities there would be no place for the audience, and without the audience there would be no meetings of minds for the artists to flourish and learn. The commune of music is where love is born and where revolutions ignite, so for that we will always be grateful to the earnest people that house it and defend their vital walls. All is love.”
The Pearl Harts: “Throughout the U.K. we have played many great shows in rooms and venues both as The Pearl Harts and for other musical projects. These venues have a deep musical history engrained into them and hold the raw spirit of what made us fall in love with live music. We hope that this raw spirit lives on today in our own music at our own shows thanks to these stages. Many of these venues are supported by local music fans who work tirelessly and often as volunteers to keep the live music scene alive. They are the life blood of this industry and are crucial to bands like ourselves to continue to develop and grow our craft. We’re proud to be patrons of the Music Venue Trust.”
George Akins, MD of DHP Family: “We welcome the fact that the government is looking more urgently at business rates for music venues. This is certainly an issue for many venues across the country, but it is far from being the only issue. Rent increases, unhelpful bureaucracy and redevelopments are all hitting small venues, especially in the capital. Fundamentally, small venues showcasing grassroots, contemporary music should be seen as cultural venues – in the same way as concert halls and arts theatres – which are eligible for subsidies. We are in great danger of losing the bedrock that has enabled the UK to be one of the world’s great sources of forward thinking music.”
Every patron who adds their voice helps us reach a larger audience in our work to gain recognition for the vital role grassroots music venues play culturally, socially and economically.