Music Venue Trust partnership sees Belfast venues benefit from funding

Featured Image: K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Pipeline Investment Fund has distributed almost £23,000 (€26,500/$29,000) to five different grassroots music venues in Belfast, Northern Ireland, thanks to a partnership with the city’s council. 

The Duncairn Arts Centre, The Black Box, Oh Yeah Music Centre, Voodoo and An Droichead received a total of £22,644.47 for equipment, improvements and training via the charity’s Pipeline Investment Fund and funded by Belfast City Council.

MVT’s Pipeline Investment Fund was established in 2022 and provides grants of up to £5,000 for UK grassroots music venues. Since its inception, more than £260,000 has been awarded to 61 UK venues, which was previously funded by ticket sales of MVT’s recent ‘Revive Live’ tours, a partnership with The National Lottery.

The new partnership with Belfast City Council will see the council utilise the existing Pipeline Investment Fund model to provide financial support to the city’s venues.

Small-scale applications were invited from venues in the area to support projects including lights, sound, access, ventilation and minor building alterations. Grants can also be awarded for succession planning, skills development and strengthening local community ties, as well as improving workforce diversification.

“As a UNESCO City of Music, our council is committed to growing and promoting Belfast’s fantastic local music scene, and supporting Grassroots Venues is key to that goal,” said Councillor Clíodhna Nic Bhranair, Chair of Belfast’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee.

“The grants provided through the Pipeline Investment Fund will make a real difference to the experience of visitors, performers and staff working at and attending gigs. This in turn supports our night-time economy and ensures that music continues to play an integral role in the city’s vibrancy and diversity.”

The Duncairn Arts Centre will use the funding for a new PA and lighting system, while The Black Box will invest in new seating and two CDJs. Oh Yeah Music will use the grant for audio equipment, Voodoo will upgrade lighting production in a secondary staging area, and An Droichead will invest in training, filming equipment and draping.

Beverley Whitrick, chief operating officer of Music Venue Trust, added: “These recent awards demonstrate that MVT has an effective model for ensuring that funding reaches venues which can improve the artist, audience and staff experience for relatively small amounts of money. The music community of Belfast will benefit hugely from Belfast City Council’s investment.”

Elsewhere, Music Venue Trust has reportedly condemned the Welsh Government’s latest draft budget and has warned that grassroots music venues in Wales will be placed at risk.

The comments come after proposals were made that will see pubs, shops and restaurants pay increased business rates to support the country’s health service. Arts and culture bodies are also facing a 10% cut in funding.