Key Industry Representatives Gather at City Hall to Protect Live Music Venues

With landmark music venues across the UK being closed or under threat, key industry groups have announced the formation of a new body to fight for their future at the heart of the country's multi-billion pound music industry.

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21.01.2015: With landmark music venues across the UK being closed or under threat, key industry groups have announced the formation of a new body to fight for their future at the heart of the country’s multi-billion pound music industry.

The new Music Venues Alliance will represent over 100 venues and other supportive organisations, creating a voice for this vital part of the music industry.

This Alliance has charged the Music Venue Trust with working on their behalf at a national level, lobbying and campaigning to protect and assist them, including sitting on the UK Live Music Group and being the voice of venues at UK Music.

The announcement coincides with a high-level roundtable called by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, bringing together music industry representatives to discuss how public authorities and other bodies can better support the needs of music venues in the capital.

Events such as Independent Venues Week and Venues Day have already shone a light on the plight of British music venues. Attention is now focusing on developing policies that offer a more sustainable future for music venues. The Mayor’s Office, which already backs busking in the capital, is planning to set up a taskforce to look into the issues affecting another important part of London’s music sector.

CEO of UK Music, Jo Dipple said: ‘AC/DC, The Who, Talking Heads, Bowie, the Rolling Stones, Keane, Mumford & Sons, The Vaccines, The Libertines, Anna Calvi all relied on London venues to find their fame and fortune. As a result, they became part of a phenomenon that creates £3.8bn for the UK economy and defines us all around the world. The UK has an incredibly strong music heritage. It must have an equally strong music future. Our venues are a vital part of this.

‘UK Music welcomes the Mayor of London’s commitment today to look in more detail at the pressures facing the music industry.  I want to thank City Hall, the Music Venue Trust and Independent Venues Week for their hard work and support. The Music Venues Alliance is a big step forward. I look forward to working with them and hearing how the wider music industry can protect and serve their needs and interests.’

Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, said: ‘We are delighted to start 2015 with such a positive opportunity for London music venues to discuss their needs. The small venue circuit has come under a number of different pressures in the last few years, and cultural and city planning are key elements of a comprehensive action plan that is needed to ensure that the UK continues to enjoy the best live music circuit in the world, producing some of the best artists in the world. It is important to emphasise the role that these small venues play in the ecosystem of British music, providing the first performance platform for writers and musicians. This is the grassroots and bedrock of the UK music industry which creates thousands of jobs and is one of our biggest export earners. These venues are the research and development department of that success, and we are delighted that the Mayor’s office has arranged this meeting so we can work together to ensure it continues.’

Deputy Mayor for Culture and Education, Munira Mirza, who co-hosted the roundtable at City Hall, said: ‘Music plays a huge role in the vibrancy and cultural reputation of our city, as well being a big contributor to our economy, so any threat to the live music scene is of concern. We are committed to working more closely with venues and will be setting up a taskforce to look at the issues affecting them, including planning. We warmly welcome the formation of the Music Venues Alliance, which will provide a single voice for an important sector for the capital.’

Stephen Fry, Chairman of Save Soho, commented: ‘Performing arts venues are a main artery to creativity’s heart. Live music is vital to the creative community. Affordable venues are disappearing at an alarming rate and this is a major concern of our committee at Save Soho.’

Tim Arnold, Founder of Save Soho, said: ‘The protection of small affordable music venues is not about nostalgia. This is an important point. So many people who are pro redevelopment often accuse us performers of yearning for the past.  Paloma Faith began her career in The Black Gardenia club in the last decade.  The venue was demolished by Crossrail 1. An iconic venue that spawned one of our most recent British Pop exports. We’re not campaigning about history. We’re campaigning about the protection of the here and now.’

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