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Future UK government must ‘reduce barriers’ facing live music venues

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Authorities must ‘reduce the barriers’ facing live music venues and let the sector grow naturally, a live music expert has said.

Beverley Whitrick, Music Venues Trust (MVT) strategic director, made the comments as part of the Manifesto for Music panel at The Great Escape presented by the MVT and UK Music.

Discussing the MVT manifesto, she said: ‘No one has set out to create legislation that would close grassroots music venues (GMV).

‘What has happened over time is that unintended consequences have added together to create a situation where its more and more difficult to run a venue, to make it so it can do the things it needs to do.’

The MVT manifesto includes three strategies. They are:

Reform cultural funding – invest in grassroots music venue infrastructure
Take action to increase and reward private investment
Cut red tape and reduce costs

Beverley continued: ‘Our measures aren’t asking for too much. They are all tantamount to asking the authorities to please get out of the way. And please could you remove what is stopping our sector doing what it naturally does?’

She quoted MVT figures showing that between 2007 and 2015, 35 percent of GMV closed down. She described this ‘an alarming statistic’, particularly as these venues are one of the key places where the talent of the future can develop.

Meanwhile, the UK Music manifesto focuses on five strategies, with the main driver being maintaining the current success of the industry.

According to figures, the music industry is worth £4.1bn to the UK economy, employs 120,000 and has a significant impact on music tourism and exports.

Tom Kiehl, UK Music director of government relations and public affairs, said: ‘We want to ensure policies and measures are in place to capitalise on the success of the industry. It’s culturally and economically important to the country as a whole.’

Read all our content from the Great Escape 2017.


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