Music Venue Trust has taken 140 venues off its ‘critical’ list due to the support of its #saveourvenues campaign and AFL unveils a controversial refund policy…

#Saveourvenues

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced the #saveourvenues campaign has resulted in 140 grassroots music venues being removed from its ‘critical’ list.

The charitable organisation, which was founded to help improve, maintain, and organise music venues in the UK, launched the campaign in March in response to the detrimental effect the pandemic has had on the 670 small grassroots venues.

#Saveourvenues has so far raised over £1.5m in donations from music fans, music industry companies and other organisations, alongside important interventions from public bodies such as The London Mayor’s Office, Creative Wales and Arts Council England.

However, this activity does not mean that any these 140 venues are protected permanently and MVT are calling for more music industry donations and governmental intervention to help secure their long-term future, particularly around the issue of the rent relief for grassroots music venue tenants

Mark Davyd, chief executive of Music Venue Trust, said: “The fact we have managed to remove 140 Grassroots Music Venues off of our critical list in the last three weeks is, of course, a cause for celebration but we are not complacent as this is only a relatively short-term fix. Whilst the immediate threat of closure for these venues has been halted they are still under real threat in the coming months as are over 400 others.

“This is a good start and we can’t emphasise how grateful we are to those music fans, music industry companies and public organisations who have supported the #saveourvenues campaign so far, but we cannot relax as we still have a mountain to climb to secure the long-term future of this sector.

“We still desperately need more music industry companies to step up and help with donations alongside real action from government specifically around rent relief, more financial help and clearer guidance.”

Live Nation NZ

Live Nation New Zealand has announced a series of small weekly socially distanced events titled, Together Again.

The concerts, which kick off on May 29, will feature a rotating line-up of local musicians, comedians and performers starting with South African-New Zealander and multi award-winning comedian, Urzila Carlson, among others at The Tuning Fork in Auckland.

Live Nation and the 375-capacity venue are taking a number of precautions, in accordance with public health and safety advice, which includes measures such as temperature screening, contact tracing, changes to conditions of entry and processing times entering the venue.

The venue will be operating at a reduced 100-person capacity, and staff will be wearing essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves.

Drinks and snacks will be available via table service exclusively with ordering from your seat via a mobile phone or other handheld device.

Stuart Clumpas, Live Nation New Zealand’s chairman, said: “The safety of our artists, audience, and staff is always a major focus at Live Nation events and venues, and especially so at this time.

“Our staff have been working extremely hard to get the doors open again and we aim to deliver not only a great live experience but also one that adheres to all the extra health and safety precautions and measures that line up with the government advice for events at level two.”

AFL

The AFL Fans’ Association has criticised the Aussie rules league for its refund policy, which would see full memberships cancelled if requested.

The AFL has announced four options regarding memberships, another one of which would need members to pay A$170 to maintain their privileges.

The league told members they can either maintain their membership, convert to an absentee membership for A$170, pause upcoming payments, or ask for a full refund and cancellation.

Those who retain their memberships will be entitled to a 30 per cent discount on their 2021 fees.

“The AFL has done a good job at providing different options for AFL members to consider,” fans’ association president Gerry Eeman said, according to Fox Sports. “We feel the first three options are fair, however the consequence of the full refund option, where your AFL membership is cancelled, is too harsh for gold members.

“There may be gold members who have been AFL members for over 20 years who will need to seek a full refund due to loss of income. Members such as these should have been allowed to pause their membership for 2020 rather than having it cancelled and losing entitlements they have built up after significant years of patronage.

“The $170 price of the absentee membership could also have been a bit lower.”

Image: Tom Reynolds