The Government has announced that the first portion of the £1.57 billion UK culture rescue package will go towards saving around 150 grassroots music venues from insolvency.
£2.25 million of emergency funding will be made available to those most at risk of imminent collapse, with grants of £1,000 to £80,000 helping venues in England (venues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have access to a separate fund) weather the coming months, following the devastating impact of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Without our grassroots music venues, we wouldn’t have The Beatles, Adele or Elton John. Nearly all of our globally successful music stars started out at UK clubs and live music venues - and we must make sure those organisations weather the Covid storm.”
The fund will be managed by Arts Council England (ACE), which will consider “pubs, clubs, cafes, bars, nightclubs, combined arts venues, community venues or village halls with a significant live music programme focusing on grassroots talent and original material” for support.
ACE adds that due to an anticipated high level of demand, it is “unlikely to be able to award funding to all organisations that apply or make awards at the full level requested”, with the majority of funds expected to be “around £15,000”.
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The news follows the launch of several campaigns from within the music industry calling for swift government support, including #SaveOurVenues by the Music Venue Trust (MVT), #LetTheMusicPlay and last week’s #LetUsDance campaign - organised by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
According to the MVT, up to 93% of UK grassroots music venues face closure in the wake of the pandemic. MVT's Beverley Whitrick said:
"Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes this essential funding for desperate grassroots music venues facing urgent, short term challenges. Without this help, the sector would be facing a wave of permanent closures. Throughout this crisis we have worked closely with DCMS and are delighted that the urgent need for this intervention has been recognised and responded to.”
Details on how to apply to the fund can be found here.
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