ASM Global Pledges Support For UK Grassroots Music

The Killers King Tuts 8th July 2018 Credit Rob Loud
The Killers At King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, one of the UK’s most famous grassroots music venues. (Photo by Rob Loud)

Being well-aware of the unprecedented cost pressures facing the UK’s grassroots music venues (GMV), ASM Global has pledged its support to the Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents some 1,000 GMVs in the country, and is doing vital work to protect the sector.

ASM Global wants to ensure that the MVT can continue this work, and announced to further strengthen the organization as well as the grassroots venues and music sector through “an extensive set of new initiatives,” according to a press release.

ASM Global will support MVT with “donations, training, and marketing support,” as well as “programs that will roll out on a local level across ASM Global’s portfolio of UK venues.” These include AO Arena in Manchester, OVO Arena Wembley, first direct Arena in Leeds, Utilita Arena Newcastle, P&J Live Aberdeen, Bonus Arena Hull, York Barbican, and more.

One example: Enter Shikari, who play OVO Arena Wembley in February 2024, have pledged £1 per ticket to MVT’s grassroots music venue fund, and ASM Global will match that donation for every ticket sold.

See: Ed Sheeran Backs UK’s ‘Own Our Venues’ Campaign

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Like most praised live performers, Ed Sheeran started out performing in grassroots music venues. Here he can be seen performing on stage at the Borderline in London, May 16, 2011. (Photo by Robin Little/Redferns)

And that’s just one example for fundraising opportunities via tickets for events at ASM Global venues. ASM Global also announced, that it will “make equipment and furniture in need of a new home available to grassroots music venues that need it.”

Training also plays a pivotal role in ASM Global’s commitment, having developed extensive training programs in the areas of health and safety, food safety, hygiene, cybersecurity, as well as wider topics such as mental health, equality and diversity, and social media awareness. Going forward, the staff working at GMVs across the UK will benefit from this expertise.

There will be “shadowing opportunities,” for GMV staff, who are interested in gaining insights into ASM Global’s key areas of operations; ASM Global will be able to share guidance and insights in all things sustainability, as well, having pledged to achieve Greener Arena certification across its UK venue portfolio; marketing support includes mentions in newsletters, linking to venue websites with event and ticketing information, offer social media support on a local level, signage in venues, highlighting each city’s GMVs, as well as “more targeted support for specific venue shows wherever it’s appropriate and tailored to specific audience demographics.”

The U.K.’s Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd On Saving The Future Of Live Music (European Live Savers Issue)

Tom Lynch, commercial director and SVP Europe at ASM Global, who was recently announced as a Patron of Music Venue Trust, commentedm, “At ASM Global, we are very aware and concerned about the unprecedented cost pressures facing Grassroots Music Venues, and in turn, the knock-on pressures placed on the pipeline of talent for the rest of the live music industry. Grassroots Music Venues are the lifeblood of our cultural fabric and where much of society truly falls in love with music for the first time. As a team, we have always admired the passion and hard work of Music Venue Trust, in providing a voice to Grassroots Music Venues and creating a framework for vital support to keep the music playing.”

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, said, “We want to thank ASM Global for being the first arena operators to respond to our call for support from the live music industry to deal with the crisis engulfing grassroots music venues. This is an incredibly important first step towards ensuring that when an artist emerges from the grassroots sector, everyone shares in the success they generate once they reach the very top of the industry. We look forward to developing this important relationship.”

Davyd has been calling on the major music industry to do its part in ensuring it may never run out of talent coming through, the vast majority of which gets developed by and hones its skills performing the GMV circuit.

In a recent open letter in Music Week he reiterated this: “We’ve said that every ticket sold for every show at these new venues must contain a contribution into the grassroots circuit. If it doesn’t, it shouldn’t get planning permission or be licensed. Whenever an operator is granted permission to open an arena, they should commit to a policy of investment into research and development. And we don’t mean a token donation every so often to comply with a Corporate Social Responsibility policy or as a PR exercise. Every single ticket, every single show.”

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