In light of the financial difficulties faced by venues though the Covid-19 pandemic, music lovers have rallied together to protect the UK’s vulnerable venues.
2020 has been a disastrous year for UK music. Many artists who live off the revenue from touring have not performed since March and the venues that cater for them have been repeatedly forced to close throughout the year. As a result, the Guardian reported that the live music industry as a whole is predicted to shrink by 85% this year. This breaks a five-year train of growth which up until the pandemic was expected to continue this year. However, thanks to some fantastic community fundraising there is some light ahead for these spaces.
The Music Venues Trust is a charity representing 670 independent venues across the UK. These small grassroots venues are vital for fostering new talent, as well as supporting small scale artists. Many of the UK’s biggest musicians started in local theatres and bars which are supported by the trust.
This isn’t a small sector either. In 2019 the grassroots music industry contained 28,000 jobs with a total turnover of over £371m. The impact of Covid-19 on these venues has been huge, with 556 at risk of closing permanently. It would be tragic to lose these vital creative spaces.
To help these vital small venues with the sudden loss of income the MVT launched the #saveourvenues campaign. The trust has supported streamed concerts in support of venues, sold merch, and opened a crowdfunder campaign. On crowdfunder there have been over 5000 individual donors. Artists who have contributed include Lewis Capaldi, Frank Turner, and Cate Le Bo. Since April the crowdfunder has burst through its goal of £1m and as of writing has reached £1.2m.
Keeping the venues open will not only maintain the thousands of jobs that rely on them into 2021 but provide a much-needed boost to the economy once live shows are allowed after restrictions. With this generous support and a vaccine on the horizon, things are looking a little brighter in the music sector moving into the new year.