Culture Seeds: London Mayor Allocates $1.4m To Grassroots Businesses

Grassroots music venues are among the recipients of a new culture fund, announced by the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Neelam Khan Vela
– Savages
Performing at the 100 Club

From May 1, “individuals and small organizations” can apply for grants ranging from £1,000-£5,000 ($1,400-$7,000), “particularly those who may not have access to public funding”.

The mayor’s plans include a “month-long celebration of live music in the city,” called Sounds Like London, with events supporting London’s grassroots music venues and shining a light on women working in the music industry.

One of the event’s supporters is London’s Music Venue Trust (MVT), which is going to put its recently announced funding program for female promoters into practice.

Twenty-two participating venues have been confirmed, including the 100 Club, Dublin Castle, Omeara, Electrowerkz, Borderline, Bedford, and The Social. “These venues are the backbone of the live music scene in London, providing spaces where artists can take their first steps, develop and grow,” said Gary Prosser, who heads the Fightback campaign for MVT, adding, “Fightback London provides an opportunity to showcase the fantastic range of artists and venues that London enjoys, celebrating the history of our music scene and supporting its future.”

London’s night mayor Amy Lamé said London’s grassroots music scene was “absolutely vital to the city’s reputation as the music capital of the world.

“These venues nurture the talent of tomorrow and help emerging artists to develop their technique. The Mayor and I are absolutely committed to ensuring London’s live music venues thrive,” she said.

Kahn included the agent of change rule in his draft London Plan, to ensure that, going forward, new developments being built next to existing venues have to meet soundproofing costs.  

The Borderline
– The Borderline
One of the London venues supporting the mayor’s initiative

Other supporters of the mayor’s Culture Seed program include Airbnb and Little Concert, which recently partnered to bring bespoke concert experiences to individually using the popular accommodation site. BBC Music Introducing, Boiler Room and Fabric are also supporting Sounds Like London.

Said Khan: “London is overflowing with talent and imagination. Thousands of artists have made the capital their home and their creative influence is felt in all corners of the city.

“However, I know how difficult it can be for emerging artists and small creative organizations to get quick access to funding to support some amazing grassroots cultural activity in communities around the city.

“That’s why I’m launching Culture Seeds and calling on all Londoners to let us know how a small grant could make a big difference in your neighborhood. From kickstarting a new arts festival, to funding a pop-up cinema screening in your local park – the possibilities are endless.”