The ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative, launched by the Music Venue Trust last year, is approaching its fundraising target of £2.5m.
The project, launched in May 2022, aims to guarantee the long-term future of football stadiums to the community by purchasing their property rights so that they become community property. It has been compared to the “National Trust, but for stadiums” and is based on the community participation model used to future-proof pubs, post offices and sports grounds.
Now, the MVT has announced that they have raised 1.8 million pounds of the necessary money and March 30 has been set as the deadline to receive the remaining investment required to purchase properties. The charity plans to start shopping in April. Nine properties have been selected for the first phase of the project, with others to be added as they become available.
When properties are purchased, they will be offered an immediate rent reduction and help with building repairs and insurance.
Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of MVT, said: “We know that changing the ownership model of community music venues is the most important change we can make in this industry. The owners our centers are better for the people who love them, who need them. and use them. We want everyone who has a stake in the future of these centers to be direct financial stakeholders in the future : the local communities, the artists, the public and the music industry. These venues are vital to the future of live venues. music for all of us, this is not the time to sit idly by and wait for someone to make us
Ed Sheeran had already expressed his support for the plan, in which he had invested money: “Small, independent venues are very, very important to the music community, and I’ve given some of the best concerts of my career there . do everything possible to protect these beautiful places we all love for many years to come,” he said.
Since June, hundreds of individuals and companies are also supporting the plan, either through direct investment or through the specific Crowdfunder campaign.
Community music venues continue to face many challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. Venue owners told NME that the cost of living crisis, Brexit, canceled shows and last-minute decisions by music fans had created a “perfect storm” for the sector.
Davyd also called on the eight new stadiums he plans to build and open in the UK to invest in community music venues to keep them afloat. In a rousing speech in the House of Commons last month, he said “not one of these stadiums should be opened unless there is a policy in place where every ticket sold goes back to community music venues and community artists”. . Otherwise, he said, “a carbuncle is being built, a white elephant in the middle of our big cities that won’t be filled 10 years from now because there won’t be any artists to fill it.”
And he said: “This sector has serious problems. With a turnover of 500 million pounds, the costs are 499 million and the profit margin is 0.2%. It is not sustainable. There are 177,000 events, but it fell 16 . 7%. We used to average 4.2 departures per week at these venues, and now we’re down to 3.5”.
MVT also warned in its annual report for 2022 that public gig spaces in the UK are “falling off a cliff”.