Video Interview: Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust

Pollstar spoke to Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of the Music Venue Trust, a charity, created in January 2014 to secure the long-term future of Grassroots Music Venues in the UK.

Davyd co-owns a venue himself, the iconic Forum in Tunbridge Wells. He is also the CEO of Rhythmix, a music charity that works with people in challenging circumstances, the owner of Outstanding Music, a 360-degree music company specializing in alternative Latin music, and manager to a couple of Spanish acts.

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The main topic of this interview is, of course, venues. Davyd went into the main challenges of and possible solutions to keeping grassroots venues alive as incubators of new musical talent.

He explains how the music industry has “built a model of work that doesn’t reward the thing we’re doing,” and reveals a couple highlights from a venue survey conducted among the 280 plus members of the Music Venues Alliance.

“I’m of the generation that went to sticky-carpet venues that smelled a bit funny. That hasn’t changed in a lot of these places in 30 or 40 years. Is that a competing offer?”

He said there’s a disconnect between what young people in particular are seeing on YouTube as examples of what live music looks like: Coldplay with flashing wristbands or Bring Me The Horizon’s 120-foot-wide LED screen in 3D with lasers.

“They [then] go to the local music venue and there might be a guy flicking a light bulb on and off. “Have we really invested enough in the grassroots experience?”

Davyd also opened up about his own history, the moment that made him fall in love with live music, the reasons for doing what he does and his favorite and least favorite parts of the job.