Mayor Andy Burnham Backs Campaign to Save Grassroots Music Venues

Mayor Andy Burnham Backs Campaign to Save Grassroots Music Venues
credit: nme

Manchester (Parliament News) – Mayor Andy Burnham backs the campaign to support grassroots music venues (GMVs) and artists. Despite their importance, many GMVs face financial struggles, prompting initiatives like FREENOW’s partnership with Music Venue Trust.

Mayor Andy Burnham has supported a campaign to support grassroots music venues (GMVs) across the country and the artists that utilise them. Grassroots venues have been represented as being the lifeblood of the music stage, offering both independent and forthcoming artists a chance to perform and nurture their talent. In Manchester, venues like Band on the Wall, Gorilla, AATMA and The Deaf Institute are tagged as GMVs.

What challenges do grassroots music venues face nationwide?

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) recently discovered that 38% of all UK grassroots venues are publishing a financial loss. In the last twelve months alone, 125 – about 16% – of these venues shut their doors, equating to at least two live music spaces every week.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee stated earlier this year that such platforms were ‘integral to the pipeline of professional, creative and technical music talent’, but artists were meeting a cost-of-touring crisis and working to get venues for their shows. As part of its proposals, the committee put forward proposals for a ticket levy for bigger shows at arenas, like Co-op Live, which could then go towards delivering artists at smaller artists.

How is FREENOW contributing to support grassroots music venues?

FREENOW, a leading taxi app, has revealed that it will be keeping MVT for a third year running after previously contributing money from rides and underwriting exhibitions across the country. This year’s campaign will notice the taxi company’s Round Up and Donate operation on its app revert to the Trust and see donations gathered on behalf of the organisation, with the money going towards sustaining grassroots music venues on a national scale.

What role does the Music Venue Trust play in this campaign?

Speaking about the profession the Trust does, and the recent movement from Freenow, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham stated: “Music Venue Trust has been instrumental in supporting UK grassroots venues. I’ve seen many of my favourite bands in some of these spaces, and they play a key role in the nighttime economy and music scene of Greater Manchester and the wider UK.

“I fully support the recommendations published by the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee including the introduction of a levy and a targeted VAT cut to halt the rising tide of closures. However, urgent action is needed to support venues and the talented artists playing them. I’m delighted to see MVT joining efforts with FREE NOW to continue raising awareness for this matter and collect vital funds to keep grassroots venues open and support all those who depend on them.”

The campaign was also supported by the likes of The Libertines and Frank Turner, who was backed by MVT and FREE NOW last month as he endeavoured a world record of shows in independent venues across the country.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.