Music Venue Properties makes second acquisition under ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme

Featured Image: The Ferret

The Music Venue Trust’s Music Venue Properties has purchased its second grassroots music venue under its ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme. 

Located in the English city of Preston, The Ferret is a 200-capacity venue that has hosted international artists such as Ed Sheeran, IDLES, Alt-J, Royal Blood and more.

Music Venue Properties is an independent Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) created by the Music Venue Trust, and funded by the Own Our Venues investment scheme. The aim of the initiative is to purchase identified venues, before leasing the properties back to operators on a “friendly lease” with reduced rents, while also making contributions to insurance or repairs, and offering rent breaks for unprecedented events.

To date, almost £2.6m (€3m/$3.3m) has been raised from over 1,200 individual investors. Funding  was matched with a £500,000 investment from Arts Council England, and the figure includes loans of £150,000 from Preston City Council and £500,000 from Arts & Culture Impact Fund.

Following the purchase, The Ferret’s operators have signed a ‘cultural lease’ with Music Venue Properties, which is an agreement specifically created by Music Venue Properties to guarantee that, as long as The Ferret operates as a space for grassroots live music for their local community, they can enjoy the use of the building.

The purchase of The Ferret follows last October’s acquisition of The Snug, a 100-capacity venue in Atherton, Greater Manchester.

“This is a monumental moment for The Ferret,” said Matt Fawbert, director and programme manager of The Ferret. “We’re extremely pleased to be able to say that our venue is now safe and secure for years to come. We want to thank everyone who invested and donated, but today we especially want to thank our friends at Music Venue Properties.

“To have a landlord that is dedicated to live music and supporting grassroots music venues gives us the security and confidence to not only continue delivering great live music to the people of Preston, but also to invest even more in grassroots music and culture and create something very exciting in our city.”