By Louisa Streeting
Music Venue Trust has launched a nationwide campaign this week to save 556 grassroots music venues from permanent closure. In Brighton & Hove alone, 107 venues face imminent risk of closing their doors for good due to the Coronavirus crisis.
Lockdown laws in the UK forced the live music scene to come to a grinding halt in March to protect public health. MVT’s #saveourvenues fund has surpassed its £1 million target and is now aiming for a further £500,000 to ensure these spaces can reopen again when it is safe to do so. With government funding exhausted, the fate of arts venues in Brighton and around the UK is in the hands of local communities, artists and fans to unite over this fundamental cause.
“Every week we stay closed the risk increases. We are currently looking at needing to raise a lot of money to secure everyone,” says Toni Coe, programme manager of the Green Door Store and co-ordinator of the #saveourvenues campaign. “I believe our communities and the goodwill of those that use these spaces will save a lot of venues from permanent closure. If you love and need live music in your life, then get involved!”
Other venues in need of your help…
“A collective voice is stronger. If the team can’t go to work there will be no rock shows and no beers. That would be a real shame.” – Sally Oakenfold, The Hope and Ruin.
“With no income, limited access to funding and loans, a list as long as your arm of financial liabilities and 20 staff to support, we need as much help as we can get.” – Andy Hillion, The Brunswick.
“Brighton is Music City… we all know…. and soooo many bands, musicians, composers, poets, songwriters, artists, stand-up comics with banjos, sit down storytellers have come through the doors of Brighton’s key venues.” – Bill Smith, Latest Music Bar.
“This campaign is crucial to all small venues. We can survive a couple of more weeks but soon we will be in a really awful situation. If you want to save us, you better start helping us now!” – Thomas Evrenos, The Pipeline
Artists looking to support their favourite space can organise ‘at home’ performances for fans to raise money for a specific venue. Likewise, music fans can ‘Adopt a Venue’ by donating to a specific fundraising campaign. Check the “Venues in Crisis” map to see a list of in need of urgent help.
The publicity from the campaign has already helped The Wedgewood Rooms in Portsmouth meet their target in just 12 hours. They will be giving any further donations to MVT Grassroots Music Venue crisis fund to ensure the charity has the resources to help the venues they represent.
Over many decades, Brighton & Hove has curated a diverse and inclusive environment for the arts – the fabric of the city is characterized by its eclectic, unique live music scene. Our community needs to come together to ensure it returns when society heals from the virus.
As long-time advocates of grassroots music, this urgent appeal is hugely important to QM Records. Without these spaces, there will be fewer platforms for artists and music lovers to express themselves. If you are able to, please donate what you can to MVT’s crowdfunding page or to a venue directly.
Learn more about the campaign and donate below: