Live Music

Grassroots music venues celebrate rate reduction

The UK’s live music sector has welcomed news that the Government will slash business rates by 50 percent for small and medium sized grassroots music venues.

Bekki Bemrose
  • By Bekki Bemrose
  • 27 Jan 2020
  • min read
The UK’s live music sector has welcomed news that the Government will slash business rates by 50 percent for small and medium sized grassroots music venues.

The reduction, secured by Music Venue Trust, will see more than £1.7m released back into the grassroots live sector, benefitting hundreds of venues.

The live music circuit has welcomed the announcement following a prolonged crisis that has seen 35 percent of grassroots music venues close in the last decade.

The business rate relief will save 230 grassroots music venues an average of £7,500 per year.

The relief will further support the sector in addition to a £1.5m fund announced by Arts Council England last year, plus changes to planning guidance and the legal framework across the UK which have brought additional protections for music venues from developers and noise complaints through Agent of Change.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director, Music Venue Trust says: ‘This is a much needed and long overdue boost for Grassroots Music Venues. Music Venue Trust has been working hard with Government on this issue for the last four years and it is a huge breakthrough for us and the members of the Music Venues Alliance. We’d like to thank our partners at UK Music and Musicians’ Union for their support and help in getting this over the line.’

Figures from across the grassroots music sector also welcomed the news.

Rob Toogood, Fuel Rock Club, Cardiff, said: ‘In these difficult times for Grassroots Music Venues, business rates are a major challenge to our financial survival. I think it’s fantastic that thanks to the work of Music Venue Trust the Government and local authorities are starting to recognise the important of venues like ours to the cultural infrastructure of our communities. Cardiff and South Wales has a fantastic history of producing rock bands and this relief will play a large part in encouraging us to continue providing a space for the next generation of musicians.’

Dom Frazer, The Boileroom, Guildford, commented: ‘This is fantastic news for our team at the venue and for our local music community. We invest every penny we can spare into supporting new and emerging artists and this much needed reduction gives us more freedom to do that. This news really demonstrates the value of an organisation like Music Venue Trust that can speak up for Grassroots Music Venues.’

Rebecca Walker, The Leadmill, Sheffield, said: ‘Business Rates are one of our largest annual overheads. Thanks to the incredible work of all of the MVT team, this significant reduction will really help us to invest in not only music and the arts, but the staff and infrastructure needed to continue putting on great shows for the people of Sheffield.’

Nathan Clark, Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, added: ‘We are overjoyed to hear this much overdue news of support to Music Venues. Steps made by Music Venue Trust to help recognise the cultural importance of our places and impact on the community is invaluable. This reduction of business rates supports an ability to reinvest, helping new and emerging artists, create accessible events, and further support a vibrant, but financially strained environment for the wider community. A giant step in the right direction!'