It’s no secret that smaller UK venues have been struggling in recent years. Recent reports show nightclubs are closing down at an “alarming rate”, according to industry figures. The Music Industry Trust estimates 35% of UK venues have closed down in the past ten years.
This figure suggests the phenomenon way be even more worrying than previously thought. A recent BBC Newsbeat feature underlines why grassroots venues are so important the industry, and to the country as a whole. As well as giving well-known artists a place to play intimate gigs, grassroots venues provide an essential breeding ground for the next generation of musical talent, giving them the experience they need and a space to grow into the greats of tomorrow.
The Music Venue Trust’s findings come as the House of Commons reads a new bill which could protect smaller venues from forced closures. In the majority of cases, venues are compelled to close after neighbours in residential properties file complaints with the local council. Often, these residential properties are new developments, while the music venues are long-standing cultural centres. As the Planning (Agent of Change) Bill was read, campaigners and musicians gathered outside parliament to pledge their support. With high profile names like Paul McCartney and Billy Bragg attached to the campaign, there’s a real chance this bill could make a change.
Stay tuned for updates on the bill’s progress.