Grassroots venues in the UK are calling for donations and funding from huge artists and the more successful corners of the music industry to prevent closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Speaking to NME, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd brought forward the suggestion of £1 million in donations in order to avoid “a disaster that will last 10 years”.
Government pledges of millions in loans and grants to grassroots spaces to help them through these unprecedented times will not be enough, MVT claims. Over 550 venues are at risk, along with the permanent loss of over 5,000 jobs and 1 million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers.
Davyd said that the MVT has “been surveying all our venues for weeks, done all the maths, and worked out that despite the intentions of the government and the work that everyone else is doing, we have a £13.8 million hole,”
“The government has done a lot and we’re not having a go at them. We realise there’s a huge crisis going on here for everybody and the likelihood of us getting any additional funding from the government to plug that hole is almost zero.”
The £1 million of funding they have asked for from the industry’s most successful companies and artists would be used to financially support the MVT’s emergency response service. Davyd revealed that their emergency response service won 91 of its 96 cases to prevent venues from closure in the last year, with the remaining five still ongoing.
“In this atmosphere, people think that once this is all over people are suddenly going to open grassroots music venues. That isn’t going to happen. Every one we lose is going to be permanently lost. We’re talking about 84% of the sector shutting down.” He added: “If we wake up the morning after this is over and over 80% of our venues have disappeared, we are talking about a disaster that will last 10 years.”