May’s Music Moment

Music Venue Trust and The Arts Council change the future.

“When our grassroots music venues thrive,the whole industry benefits.” (Mark Davyd, MVT).

The Great Escape is Europe’s biggest music festival and convention, annually mid May. One event this year was co-hosted by Arts Council England (ACE) and Ticketmaster. There, it was announced by Music Venue Trust (MVT)  that a fund of £1.5 million pounds from ACE’s National Lottery Project Grants were available for the grassroots music world. Tangible improvements include sound, lighting, facilities and apprenticeships. This changes so much for the “star-breaker” circuit.

Mark Davyd continues; “We want to ensure that venues across the UK are able to access the support they need to become real centres of excellence. Britain’s artists and audiences deserve a world class, industry leading, grassroots touring circuit. Delivering that, is the responsibility of everyone in the music industry, cultural sector and government.”

Saving our sacred spaces is heroic; MVT’s annual Venues Day feels increasingly celebratory. Regular readers will know Music Venue Trust as the achieving charity that protects, secures and improves grassroots’ heritage. It’s famous ambassadors appreciate the nurturing small spaces. “These places should be given protected status” wrote music consultant, Clive Drew, for our latest picture story during Independent Venue Week

In a key year for the interdependent Entertainment Industry, this latest news is huge. MVT connects the industry at all levels. Every achievement is a milestone. Appreciate our culture’s future without them. This month’s news changes so much for artists, audiences and venues alongside their social collusion and economic potential. “Live Music is a boost for humanity and poetic souls. Not to be sniffed at, these days.” (Music Tourist Board)

Come together. Right now.

At the announcement, key figures from the live music industry explained that initiatives are being implemented to raise money from the top to feed back into the essential foundations. “As a long-time supporter of MVT, we’re excited to announce we’ll be giving fans the opportunity to add a donation to MVT through our website.” (Andrew Parsons, Ticketmaster) and Emma Bownes of AEG Europe noted that this is “an important step in protecting small music venues and supporting the emerging talent that use these spaces to hone their craft.”

In 2014 Music Venue Trust and Independent Venue Week arrived independently like something was in the air. Born on stage that same January in Tin Pan Alley, Soho (RIP) TheZineUK’s tale unfolds in affordable spaces. We experience potential heritage artists in iconic locations, sadly sometimes losing some of both along the way.

MVT changes our situationist yellow brick road

MVT’s January 2018 Agent Of Change day at Parliament is key. That month, The Scotland Herald reported that “King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Sub Club, SWG3, the O2 Academy and the O2 ABC have united to back Agent of Change – a campaign to convince MSPs to introduce a bulwark in planning laws to defend venues from complaints about noise pollution.”

Grassroots development trail. February 2018 night out with Benumu and God Is In The TV; The Blinders at The Globe in Cardiff. A year later they were playing SXSW

In February 2018 MVT launched Fightback (it’s public facing fundraising arm). This year, there’s a Fightback beer! By Autumn 2018, Wales On Line was able to report about Cardiff. “Victory for Save Womanby Street campaigners as developer withdraws plans to build flats”. The controversial plans to build yet more fuxury flats were withdrawn. It’s the Land Of Song FFS, have some cultural pride, “developers”!

Now that the tedious “guitars-are-dead” knobs had finally shut up, last Autumn, two rock bands from our tale, MOSES and Berries, played a #Fightback gig at The Social in Central London. It was utterly joyous. Fast forward to this Spring and the venue was, itself, under threat. Central London lost both Madame JoJos and The Astoria (along with it’s Denmark Street/Tin Pan Alley music district). Having campaigned to save The 100 Club a few years earlier, we now instead lose The Borderline this Autumn.

A capital city centre with hardly any live music venues? This is why the ACE news about a serious economical, educational and social boost is life changing. Proven by the waterfall of requests for help to MVT in this one week since the news broke.

This week, also a newspaper article by David Owens of Wales OnLine, involving the Welsh Assembly and inviting public participation; “A wide-ranging inquiry is to be launched into Wales’ live music scene.”

In case anybody thinks that no “real” people will see any money. The Arts Council (like the above mentioned MOSES and BERRIES) were involved in April’s game changing Cro Cro Land. The sold out, DIY music festival in Croydon is culture positive blueprint by the passions of Angela Martin (Bugeye) and Julia Woolams (31% Wool). Many of the interdependent new music industry were repped; Decolonisefest, YANAfest, Kick Out The Jams, Modern Age, Loud Women, This Feeling, Get In Her Ears and Benumu are bringing both artist and charity profiles up with them IN GRASS ROOTS VENUES.

Berries (London) with Lori Janey of Leeds rockers, Weekend Recovery at CroCroLand shouting out more female fronted bands with their t shirts. Grassroots music scene is interdependent and co-collaborative. Watch the artists/promoters/spaces and faces go!

Not rich and famous. Who cares?

Many music fans care so much it hurts. Sometimes, we grass roots promoters, wonder what on earth we are doing. For LOVE, not money. Any results are a bonus. We witness fans yelling the words at “unknown” bands. Big songs and “main stage” performances create a virtual flicky book of creative development at close range.

We MUST have hang outs and escapism! The DIY co collaborations of the last few years, especially, have set an upward spiral in motion. Poetic souls and golden hearts with skint budgets but artbeat magic in austerity. Imagine giving what they have already achieved, with ducking, diving and plenty of gaffer tape, some financial boost!

The creative culture clash of Amersham Arms. The back bar is where TheZineUK was born. Grass roots venues are community centres that often do so much that live music, more from comedy and theatre to family raves and talks/screenings.

“Tomorrow’s music relies on investment today.” (Phil Bowdery, Live Nation). Small venues are the most hands-on marketing that you can get. Hard working venues and artists have paid their dues. Audiences to be respected as investors.

A swathe of multi media talents grow with the bands. The recent SOMA Festival across Brighton and London Grassroots venues by Modern Age Music is reported, here by Louise Schofield TV, soundtracked by The Velvet Hands and grown since it started last year.

Live entertainment is a huge global business (from such tiny islands that we are a pin prick on most world maps). Music can be our #FertileEnvironment (escaping the Hostile Environment). This is poetically inspired by Patrick Jones‘ line; Something Must Grow).

Fontaines D.C. played their second gig for Kick Out The Jams last year. They’ve just gone Top 10 with debut album, ‘Dogrel’ and appeared on USA’s Jimmy Fallon TV show. Grassroots promoters have got so much goodness and community happening. Right NOW and next.

“Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them” (Darren Henley, Arts Council England).

We may just come out of the last decade’s darker ages with a soundtrack to heal some rifts, and agree to disagree in peace. Thank you to Music Venue Trust and all that roll with it.

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