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Music Venues Trust sets £1m target to prevent closures

Music Venue Trust (MVT) is seeking to raise £1m from within the live music and cultural sector to prevent the permanent closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK.

The Covid-19 crisis caused the shuttering of venues across the UK, which has left the industry reeling and scrambling for support.

MVT claims that despite government action, over 550 grassroots music venues remain under immediate threat of closure, representing the potential permanent loss of more than 5,000 jobs, 100,000 concerts, 300,000 performances by musicians, and more than one million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers.

MVT has now launched the Grassroots Music Venue Crisis Fund (GMVCF) to place its existing Emergency Response Service on a crisis footing. It is looking to raise £1m from the music industry, cultural sector and high net worth individuals to fully fund this service.

MVT said in a statement: “In the next three months alone, MVT needs the resources and financial backing to prevent over 550 potential closures. MVT’s Emergency Response Service will defend each individual venue that comes under threat of permanent closure as and when it happens, taking actions required to prevent that venue from being permanently lost.

“MVT’s Emergency Response Service has a proven track record in preventing venue closures and has been successful in 98% of threatened closure cases.”

In a series of announcements of assistance since the outbreak began, the UK government has pledged that all business rates for all grassroots music venues, regardless of size, will be zero rated for 2020-21.

The UK government has offered to pay workers at 80 per cent of each employee’s salary, as well as that of self-employed workers. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also pledged £330bn of loan guarantees and a £20bn fiscal intervention.

MVT concluded: “With your help, Music Venue Trust believes we can prevent every closure. We won’t accept that this crisis should result in 500 closures. Or 200. Or even 100. With your help, we can fight every single one.”

Last year, the MVT’s Emergency Response Service prevented 91 closures in 12 months.