Live Music

Ed Sheeran backs ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative 

Featured image credit: Mark Kent (Flickr) Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)/Edited for size

Ed Sheeran has pledged his support for Music Venue Trust’s ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative, which aims to take control of the freeholds of music venue premises.

By taking control of music venue freeholds, MVT will be able to give them a protected status under benevolent ownership. The concept is built on the ‘Community Share’ model that has been successful in saving local pubs, post offices and even sports grounds and clubs.

British singer Sheeran said: “Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind. Small, independent venues are so, so important to the music community, and I’ve played some of my favourite gigs of my career in these rooms. We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come.”

The ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme from the charity, which has been extended to December 31 2022, is aiming to raise £3.5m ($3.8m/€3.9m) in initial investments to acquire nine venues. MVT identified nine venues for a pilot project which will enable the scheme to establish a proof concept, before further venues can be identified and secured.

On completion, the venues will be offered an immediate rent reduction and help with building repairs and insurance, while also guaranteeing long-term security. Music Venue Trust is aiming to complete the purchase of the first nine music venues by the end of December.

Individuals and companies have pledged their support through direct investment, through new investment platform Etehx or via MVT’s Crowdfunder campaign. At the time of writing, the Crowdfunder total has reached £355,000.

Music Venue Trust set up a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) named Music Venue Properties in May this year, which oversees the ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative.

Mark Davyd, chief executive and founder of Music Venue Trust, said: “We are blown away by the support already for Own Our Venues. This is a campaign that is really resonating with music fans who understand exactly how important it is to keep access to live music in our communities, our towns and cities right across the UK. With the Own Our Venues project gathering steam, we are incredibly pleased to get Ed’s support for this initiative – he knows this sector incredibly well and understands how important it is.”

Matt Otridge, ownership coordinator, Music Venue Trust, added: “We have extended the deadline for investors to come on board through until 31 December 2022 to give everyone a chance to get behind this project and make it a reality. We have had an incredible response to this initiative right across the music industry and the music community, and we can’t wait to announce some very substantial investments from key stakeholders shortly.”