The Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign has hit the £1m mark, while the UK Chancellor announces a Bounce Back Loan scheme to support small businesses and Missouri becomes the first state to allow live events to take place following the COVID-19 shutdown…
Music Venue Trust (MVT) has raised more than £1m in its fundraising effort to save the UK’s grassroots venues from closure during the COVID-19 shutdown of live events.
The charitable organisation, which was founded to help improve, maintain, and organise music venues in the UK, has launched its #saveourvenues campaign in March in response to the detrimental effect the pandemic has had on the 670 small grassroots venues.
The donations have come from Beggars Group, Amazon Music/BPI and The Mayor Of London, who have all made six-figure donations, while other companies including Sony Music, SJM, Kilimanjaro and DHP Family have made “very substantial” pledges.
Last week, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced a £2.3m emergency aid package for the cultural and creative industries, with a £450,000 donation going towards MVT’s #saveourvenues campaign.
Mark Davyd, chief executive of Music Venue Trust said: “We cannot begin to say how grateful we are to Beggars Group, Amazon Music/The BPI, The Mayor of London, Sony Music, SJM, Kilimanjaro Live, DHP and others for stepping up and helping us with the #saveourvenues campaign.
“These are critical times for over 500 grassroots music venues many of whom simply won’t survive this crisis without donations from the music industry and music fans. This is a great start but there is still so much more to do, and we dare not get complacent. We urgently need other music industry partners to help the #saveourvenues campaign. Please get in touch if you can support us to prevent these closures.”
Venues have launched individual Crowdfunder pages linked to the campaign with artists raising money for individual venues in crisis with whom they have a personal connection.
Artists are also being asked to support the initiative via their social media platforms using the #saveourvenues hashtag and directing their fans to shows they are performing as part of this initiative and signposting the way to the website where donations can be made. Crowdfunder is covering all the campaign’s platform and transaction fees, meaning that all monies raised will go towards supporting music venues.
Martin Mills, founder and chairman of Beggars Group, added: “We fully support this campaign. Live music in small venues is where it all starts for most of our artists, and many of our best times are spent in them.
“Whether it’s White Stripes at the Dome, Dry Cleaning at the Lexington or Adele (and Aldous Harding) above a pub in Islington, we need these places to survive and thrive. We miss them.”
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a bounce back loan scheme to provide micro loans worth 25 per cent of turnover, up to £50,000, within 24-hours of applying.
As of today (Monday), many small businesses, including those in the creative sectors, can apply for loans worth a minimum of £2,000 and has a flat interest rate of 2.5 per cent, with the government paying the first 12 months’ interest.
The scheme has been launched in response to reports of the difficulties and delays many smaller businesses are facing in obtaining financial support through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).
Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM), the UK’s professional body for musicians, has welcomed the new Bounce Back Loan scheme, noting that it might address some of the cash flow issues many business are facing across the creative industries, though there are still some concerns.
Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the ISM, said: “However recent ISM flash surveys have revealed the music sector and wider creative industries are at risk of financial ruin due to the impact of Covid-19. Many businesses are facing closure on a permanent basis as cash flow tightens.
“With no sign of the music sector being able to go back to work on a normal basis any time soon many will be reluctant to apply for the scheme since it will just add to their debt.”
Last week, a survey by the ISM suggested the CBILS is “not fit for purpose” as music organisations continue to suffer from the live events blackout.
ISM found that none of the organisations who applied for the loan have received a ‘yes’ to their applications.
More than a third of respondents reported that if they did not receive financial support within as little as a week, they would have needed to make their entire workforce redundant, while over 25% said they were at risk of complete closure.
Missouri governor Mike Parson rolled out a reopening plan that indicates concerts can begin to take place as of today (Monday).
The governor’s Show Me Strong recovery plan, which was published on April 27, details policies to allow residents to attend live events, including concerts.
According to the Show Me Strong guidelines, large events and gatherings are no longer banned, but in order to go to a concert, cinema or stadium “seating shall be spaced out according to social distancing requirements.”
The Missouri recovery plan continues: “There are currently no limitations on social gatherings as long as necessary precautions are taken and six feet of distance can be maintained between individuals and/or families.”
The plan also allows for retail stores to serve customers in-store at limited capacities and for restaurants to re-establish dine-in services while remaining socially distanced.
The move would mark a first for the US since state governments began lockdown orders due to COVID-19.
At the time of writing, the US has the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 1.18 million and 68,286 deaths.