Venue Rescue Plan Released

The so-called Mayor of London’s Music Venues Taskforce has issued a report on the importance of grassroots clubs for the music ecosystem as a whole.

While the report focuses on venues in London, its authors hope to raise awareness for the desperate situation of venues across the nation.

“I’ve seen an industry that I love and am passionate about fall apart, the main reasons being costs and noise nuisance,” said Jeff Horton, owner of London’s 100 Club, at Venues Day in London Oct. 20. “Closing down venues out of that reason is far too easy.”

Horton is part of the Taskforce whose Rescue Plan includes proposals to ensure the survival of small and medium-sized UK venues. It, for example, suggests that if developers want to build near a club, the onus of the costs for noise control should be on them instead of the club owners who, in many cases, have been around for decades.

The report aims to change the way people think about music venues. “Grassroots music venues are cultural space, risk-takers, hubs of innovation and place-makers.

They need to be recognized as such in policy documents,” the report concludes. The small venue’s role in discovering the superstars of tomorrow is highlighted, as is the fact that they bring tourists and customers to the area.

The Rescue Plan was published Oct. 19, on Denmark Street in the heart of the city. According to Paul Broadhurst, senior cultural policy officer of the Greater London Authority (GLA) and also a member of the taskforce, “Music has disappeared from there. Venues had to close.

The report is a manual on how to get them back again.” Other Taskforce members include Mark Davyd (chair of the Music Venue Trust), Andrew Russel (senior planning officer GLA), Auro Foxcroft (owner of Village Underground), Tom Kiehl (director of government relations and public affairs at UK Music) and Dave Webster (national organizer live performance, Musicians’ Union).

According to Davyd, a big part of improving the situation for small venues is to get organized, a process already under way in form of the Music Venues Alliance, an informal association of venues and other organizations and individuals passionate about this part of the music industry.