UK Music joins the fight to preserve Bristol’s music scene

We discussed safeguarding venues with local politicians and our members

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27/04/18: The vibrant music scene in Bristol is under threat following the closure of well known venues in the city.

Front Row L-R: Kerry McCarthy MP, Thangam Debbonaire MP, Annie McCann (Save Bristol Nightlife), Dave Webster (MU). Back row L-R: Tom Kiehl, Mark Davyd (MVT), Paul Gray (MU)

Now campaigners, local politicians, venue operators and music fans have joined forces in the battle to safeguard the city’s venues.

UK Music’s Director of Government and Public Affairs Tom Kiehl joined Bristol MPs Thangam Debbonaire and Kerry McCarthy today to discuss ways of preserving and nurturing the city’s music scene.

Over the past year iconic Bristol venues the Bierkeller and Surrey Vaults have shut, while other music venues such as Thekla, Fiddlers and the Fleece have faced major challenges due to planning developments and business rate hikes.

At today's event, Tom updated local music venues on the progress towards implementing the Agent of Change principle to protect music venues under planning law via the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The Government has committed to amending the NPPF following the introduction of John Spellar’s Bill on agent of change in January – a campaign spearheaded by UK Music and the Music Venue Trust.

Tom also encouraged venues to work more collaboratively on shared goals to strengthen Bristol’s live music scene.

This could include the introduction of a Music Board for the local area, work in partnership with the City Council, Combined Authority and other structures such as the police, developers, licensing and planning authorities.

The meeting was organised by All-Party Parliamentary Group on Music member and Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire. It took place at the Exchange live music venue.

Representatives from the Music Venue Trust, Musicians Union, Save Bristol Nightlife and local venues including The Thunderbolt and The Louisiana also joined the event.

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