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UK Culture Fund saves 135 at-risk music venues

Emergency funding as part the UK government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund has saved 135 at-risk grassroots music venues in England.

The £3.36m Emergency Grassroots Music Venues Fund is being shared among the 135 venues who applied for support amid the coronavirus enforced shutdown of events.

In response to the demand for help from some of the hardest hit in the sector, an additional £1.1m was also brought forward, increasing the fund up from £2.25m to help as many venues as quickly as possible.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This Government is here for culture and these grants today show we are determined to help our exceptional music industry weather the Covid storm and come back stronger.

“Grassroots music venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants from our £1.57 billion fund will ensure these music venues survive to create the Adeles and Ed Sheerans of the future.

“I encourage music fans to help too by supporting music and cultural events as they start to get going again. We need a collective effort to help the things we love through Covid.”

The accelerated funding has been delivered by Arts Council England in under a month to save grassroots venues previously facing insolvency. The emergency grants of up to £80,000 will cover on-going running costs incurred during closure, including rent and utilities.

Arts Council England chief executive Darren Henley, said: “This much-welcomed emergency investment from the government into grassroots music venues will have a profoundly positive impact on England’s music ecology, and today’s news will mean a great deal to the many artists, audiences and communities they serve across the country.

“I’m pleased that the Arts Council has been able to use its expertise to administer this fund, ensuring that we are supporting music venues in these challenging times.”

Recipients of the fund include The Troubadour in London, where Adele and Ed Sheeran performed in the early days of their career, as well as The Jacaranda (pictured) in Liverpool where The Beatles played their first gig.

The fund will also support The Sunflower Lounge, one of the oldest music venues in Birmingham, and Night People in Manchester, home to Northern Soul and club nights as well as live performances and DJ sets, among others.

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust, said: “We warmly welcome this first distribution from the Culture Recovery Fund which will ensure that the short term future of these venues is secured while we continue to work on how we can ensure their long term sustainability.

“Both DCMS and Arts Council England have worked very quickly to fully understand the imminent risk of permanent closure faced by a significant number of grassroots music venues across the country, and the funding they’ve brought forward creates a real breathing space for under pressure venues.”

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