UK Gov. Denies MVT Funding Bid

The Arts Council England rejected a grassroots music venue funding bid by the Music Venue Trust, with Beverly Whitrick, the charity’s strategic director, calling it a “slap in the face.”  

Mark Davyd
– Mark Davyd
Music Venue Trust

In an interview with The Guardian, Whitrick pointed out that “the next [ACE] funding round is in another four years. We can’t even guess how many venues will close in the next four years.

That’s not ACE’s fault, but the fact that we cannot build the level of support we want to offer makes it more likely that more venues will close.”

The council’s decision was especially disappointing as it had first encouraged the MVT to make “a series of applications for almost half a million pounds, which would have been used to upgrade venues and help promote the sector.”

However, none of the bids was granted.

The report states that of the £367 million allocated to organizations in the music sector, 85 percent went to opera and classical music.

London’s Royal Opera House, Southbank Centre and National Theatre make up the top three recipients. More than half of London’s live music venues have closed since 2007.

MTV founder Mark Davyd elaborated on the reasons for this development in this Pollstar video interview.

In an interview with BBC Radio 5, Whitrick said: “what’s happened is that small venues are still run on the same model that they were in the 1970s, and the problem is that the finances no longer stack up, because of course rents have gone up, business rates have gone up, insurance has gone up, power costs more, the deals with breweries are less favorable than they used to be and lots of other premises have licenses. So people will quite normally go for a drink somewhere first, then come to the gig, then go on somewhere that’s got a late license, which lots of our venues don’t have.”

Also on the show was Jeff Horton, owner of the famous

He added that “also we’ve been hit, like all businesses with the business rates hike.

“The specific problem we have is that we were informed quite a long time ago that we’re actually the oldest live music venue anywhere on the planet. Certainly the oldest grassroots live music venue and it’s really really difficult for us to make a decision to move away to somewhere more affordable, because you’re leaving all that history and heritage behind and, in my case, I’m passionate about what I do because it’s a family business. It’s been in my family since 1958.

“My grandmother was a shareholder, my father he became a shareholder in 1964 after selling his record shop in Soho. And up to that point it had always been primarily a Jazz club, but he changed it, changed the name from The London Jazz Club to the 100 Club, because of its location at 100 Oxford Street.”

ACE chief executive Darren Henley told the Guardian that the council was “acutely aware of the challenges faced by music venues across the country and will continue to look at ways to work strategically with the sector to address them.”