Friday, December 19, 2014

Merry Christmas from Music Venue Trust

The dust is settling, the admin is being dealt with and we are thinking through the outcomes from Venues Day 2014. We will be back in 2015 to shake things up some more. Have a good break and enjoy our official film.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Venues Day 2014 Timetable

Venues Day 2014 will take place in The Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London on Tuesday 9 December. Delegate passes are available from or if you represent a small independent venue by contacting us at

The programme:

Housekeeping, introduction to the day and survey feedback
Music Venue Trust, Independent Venue Week & Southbank Centre

What makes a good venue into a great venue? What could venues do more of to increase their value to music fans and to musicians? How do we reach new audiences and talk to the industry better?
Sean Adams (Chair) - Drowned in Sound
Horace Trubridge - Musicians' Union
Suzanne Bull MBE - Attitude is Everything
Sybil Bell - MVT/IVW
Mike Weatherley MP - Rock the House
Steve Tilley -Kilimanjaro Live/Sugarmill, Stoke
Guest panelist to be announced

What are the factors that can make your music noise a nuisance and how can you manage it? Do we need an Agent of Change principle?
Kerry McCarthy MP (Chair)
Lisa Lavia - Noise Abatement Society
Howard Price - Chartered Institute of Environmental Health 
Dom Frazer - The Boileroom
Niall Forde - Islington Council
Andrew Jarvis (Moderator - Acoustics)
Jeremy Mills (Moderator - Legal compliance)

Afternoon tea & coffee with a chance to meet other venues, talk to your local MP and ACE representative, and to hear new ideas for venues

What have we learned and what can key stakeholders do about it?
Jane Beese (Chair) - Southbank Centre
Geoff Meall - The Agency
Jo Dipple - UK Music
Ben Lane - Arts Council England
Rob Challice -Coda
Mark Davyd -Music Venue Trust
Guest panelist to be announced

17.45: WRAP UP
Closing remarks

Friday, October 24, 2014


We are proud to announce our partners in this event. 
Priority booking is now open for independent venue representatives. Email us at to find out how to receive your free delegate pass. 
General booking opens 3 November.

Friday, October 3, 2014

We are proud to announce Venues Day 2014

The Music Venue Trust is delighted to announce Venues Day 2014 which will take place at Southbank Centre, London on Tuesday 9 December.

Working together with Independent Venue Week, Southbank Centre, and with funding from Arts Council England, 250 delegates from across the UK will gather at the Purcell Rooms, Southbank Centre, London, for the first ever networking event specifically aimed at celebrating the work of independent live music venues.

Delegates will be given an opportunity to exchange information, share challenges, seek collaborative solutions. Venues Day 2014 is an exciting one off opportunity to engage with key decision makers and to reach out to audiences across the UK.

We will shortly be announcing the content and sessions and sending out invitations to delegates, together with information about our major event partners. If you want to be part of Venues Day 2014, please contact us now at

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Agent of Change petition update

One week after launching the petition we are delighted to say that more than 10,000 people have already signed. We need to demonstrate much more support so please read Frank's message and then do as he asks!
"Thanks everyone for all the support for this campaign so far. Ten years ago today I played my first show at a small venue in London, 93 Feet East, and since then I've played 1,614 shows in hundreds of venues (which makes me feel pretty old). Please ask your friends and family to support this petition and let's get a small but essential change to UK Law that will give the next person trying to do what I did the same opportunity."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Frank Turner Launches Petition to Protect UK's Live Music Venues

Frank Turner Delivers Strongly Worded Letter and Video Demanding Culture Secretary Sajid Javid Adopt the Agent of Change Principle

Acclaimed musician Frank Turner has today launched a new campaign to protect the future of the UK's live music venues. A passionate supporter of small independent venues, Frank has written to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, calling on him to adopt the Agent of Change principle into UK law to halt the escalating threats to dedicated live music clubs and other community activities. To focus attention on this issue Frank is calling on music fans across the country to sign his petition demanding that the government act:

In a carefully considered and direct plea for action, Frank tells Sajid Javid:
"You, as the Culture Secretary, are genuinely facing a meltdown in the British live music circuit. Music venues are fighting off noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications; 12 venues are already under threat, an avalanche will follow if we don't take action. These venues are where I grew up, where I learned about rock’n’roll music, where I saw all my favourite bands. The venues where I played my first shows and some of my most recent, the home of the music scene that has given me my career, my passion and my life. 

And yet a solution is simple, and it's called the Agent of Change principle. We demand that you work with the Music Venue Trust and the UK's incredible network of live music venues. 

Let's act together, right now, to adopt and enforce Agent of Change".

The Music Venue Trust has been campaigning to protect and secure the UK live music network since January. Beverley Whitrick of the Trust explains, "The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it's simple common sense: The person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change. This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase." 

The petition is a collaboration between Frank Turner and Music Venue Trust, and is supported by Musicians' Union, Music Industries Association, UK Music and many other music industry bodies. 

Horace Trubridge of the MU said: 
"The MU urges Government to adopt the ‘Agent of Change’ principle, it is vital to the long term survival of live music venues across the country that the law is changed. The current situation where these valuable cultural centres are vulnerable to closure simply because of an adjacent building being converted to accommodation is unacceptable. The MU encourages the public to support this campaign and urges Government to take action to protect live music venues." 

Paul McManus of MIA said: 
“The Music Industries Association (MIA) is in total support of the campaign to implement Agent of Change legislation. Music venues, especially smaller ones, are the lifeblood of musical communities and as the UK musical instrument trade body we welcome the Music Venue Trust initiative and offer all possible help.” 

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said: 
“Grassroots live music is the foundation for our music industry. This foundation is supported by small and iconic venues throughout our towns and cities. The Government has a strong record on entertainment deregulation, yet potential benefits are challenged by worrying developments caused by planning laws. The Government should introduce the agent of change principle into UK law. This would be a proportionate and common sense approach and would be welcomed by the UK music industry.”

READ Frank's letter in full or watch the video

SIGN the petition at this link: 

LEARN about Agent of Change

What is 'Agent of Change'... and why is it important?

The Agent of Change Principle is not complicated or controversial, it's simple common sense: Agent of Change says that the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change.

This means that an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase.

At the moment, UK law says that whoever is making a nuisance is always responsible for that nuisance. How long it has existed, whether there were any historic instances of the same noise being a nuisance, if somebody moved right next door to the noise and decided it was a nuisance, these are all, unbelievably, currently irrelevant to British law. If a noise exists, you can deliberately move next to it and demand it be turned off and UK law will support you. You can build balsa wood huts next door to a music venue and simply wait for your residents to complain and the venue will have to pay all the costs to reduce their noise.

Music venues are in the frontline of the impact of our current laws, with an avalanche of cases potentially closing down music across the UK. But these are not the only community activities under attack. Complaints have been made against church bells, a new development next to a speedway race track where the residents don't like the sound of the bikes, the brand new build next to a farm where the sheep are now, according to British law, too loud and a nuisance. Community activities and cultural activities across the UK are under threat - music venues are just the first affected.

Agent of Change has been trialled and tested in Australia and it works; better planning, better developments, people thinking about what exists where they want to live and how they will live with it, music venues and others thinking more about their neighbours.

It's our music, let's all work together to bring Agent of Change to the UK.

SIGN the petition here:

Watch Frank Turner

Frank Turner's letter to Culture Secretary Sajid Javid MP

Thursday 11 September 2014

Dear Mr Javid

This is a call for you, the Culture Secretary, to act urgently to protect live music and other community activities in the UK. We want you to adopt the Agent of Change principle into UK law.

Since 2010, your government has changed the planning laws in a number of ways to achieve the aim of generating economic growth and addressing the housing shortage. Specifically, you have made amendments that permit changes of use to residential use without requiring planning permission. Offices, car parks and disused buildings across the country can be converted to residences. And right next door to those offices and car parks are the UK's music venues - a vital network that is the cornerstone of the UK music industry.

These venues are where I grew up, where I learned about rock’n’roll music, where I saw all my favourite bands. The venues where I played my first shows and some of my most recent, the home of the music scene that has given me my career, my passion and my life. 

They are there on purpose, many of them, because they chose those locations deliberately so that the music wouldn't ever be a 'nuisance'. The developers have no legal obligation to soundproof these new residences; at the moment UK law says the business or person making the noise is making the nuisance, and they must manage it. Good councils across the country are trying to put conditions on the new builds, but developers have deep pockets. Faced with a mountain of litigation, many councils will have no option other than to permit the developments to proceed and let the venues deal with the consequences.

Across the country we are already seeing the results. Music venues are fighting off noise complaints, abatement notices and planning applications; 12 venues are already under threat, an avalanche will follow if we don't take action. You, as the Culture Secretary, are genuinely facing a meltdown in the British live music circuit. And it won't end with music venues.

Church bells, Sports grounds, Pubs, Arts Centres, Theatres, any place that makes a noise is under threat.

And yet a solution is simple, and it's called the Agent of Change principle.

Under the Agent of Change principle, an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for soundproofing, while a live music venue opening in a residential area would be responsible for the costs. A resident who moves next door to a music venue would, in law, be assessed as having made that decision understanding that there's going to be some music noise, and a music venue that buys a new PA would be
expected to carry out tests to make sure its noise emissions don't increase. Agent of Change says the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change.

Agent of Change is so obvious and common sense that most people are amazed it isn't already part of UK law. In Australia it's already being adopted, and the outcome is improved planning; venues working alongside their communities to manage their noise when it changes, developers making better residences that are fit for purpose.

Everyone's a winner.

We demand that you work with the Music Venue Trust and the UK's incredible network of live music venues.

The Musician's Union, The Music Industries Association, UK Music all support it.

Let's act together, right now, to adopt and enforce Agent of Change.


Frank Turner

Online Petition:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

We have already had so much positive feedback about our campaign logo that we wanted to share more information. Use of the logo and slogan has generously been granted to us by SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music Ltd) and forms part of their incredibly successful campaign to protect live music venues in Australia. It was designed by Frank Trobbiani. Thank you to all involved in SLAM (Save Live Australia's Music) for their support.

Monday, August 4, 2014


Many thanks for the DEFRA response to the Music Venue Trust petition calling for a Review of Noise Abatement Legislation (see: Your reply is interesting, but it does not provide an adequate answer to the problems and challenges we have raised on behalf of live music venues and other community spaces in the UK. At the same time, it has helped to clarify the issues, and move our campaign on to address three specific things you need to do to protect live music in the UK:

1. Cut Red Tape. 

Your reply highlights that the laws around noise nuisance are complex, overlapping, and arise from multiple laws, legislation and precedents dating back as far as the 1800s. You say you are opposed to red tape, so we invite you to cut it. Because it's quite clear that nobody involved understands it and law that is open to significant interpretation to meet one aim or another is not good law. People are writing to us saying all noise, however loud, is permitted until 11pm. Others say no noise is permissible at any time. Work across your departments to create one, clear, unequivocal and easily understood document that relates to noise emanating from live performances, sports, and community activity.

2. Establish national criteria, guidelines and advice for Environmental Health Officers. 

A lot of the DEFRA response depends upon local interpretation of unclear national legislation, placing an unfair and unreasonable demand on local EHOs. We believe in local negotiations, and are delighted with the outcome of the recent challenges faced by The Fleece in Bristol, but your response creates "Schrödinger Venues" - great music venues who might or might not be making a noise, we won't find out until someone decides they don't like it. We need to stop considering the philosophical question "does a small venue make a noise if there is no-one around to hear it?" and answer the question "what is the appropriate level of noise in this zone?". The decision in Bristol is fantastic and shows how some venues can work with their local councils and EHOs to get good development, but it's not a legal precedent and we shouldn't be leaving these things to chance. You say you want to see well-managed, well-run, thriving live music spaces. How can any business make provision for, or try to act within, a completely unknown quantity? Is 35dB at 20 metres too much or isn't it? What about 40dB, or 60dB? And what about 2 metres, or 200 metres? Your response specifically conflates music with noise and noise with nuisance. We say live music and noise coming from other community activities is not a nuisance, it is the heart and soul of local communities. Create a proper national framework for noise emanating from live performances, sports, and community activity that can be referenced by Enivironmental Health Officers and establish a good practice guide.

3. Adopt the Agent of Change Principle.

The DEFRA response states, and it has been stated extensively elsewhere, that it is a long established principle of UK law that it does not matter if someone moves next to a noise, the noise maker still has the responsibility to adapt the noise to suit whatever new conditions the new occupier feels they want. We, and thousands of other people, say this is fundamentally against common sense. If I move to a fishing village, can I stop the fishing because I don't like the smell? If I move next to a football ground, can I stop the games because I don't like cheering or crowds? The DEFRA response references precedents in UK law dating back 200 years. We've come quite a long way in the last 200 years, and there's a few more of us living right next to each other. There is a principle you can adopt called Agent of Change; this states that responsibility to adapt the conditions of the noise falls on the person who changes the existing conditions. It's already been adopted in various guises in Australia, affecting planning, development and noise complaints positively across the board. The principle is simple: If a venue increases its noise, it should make changes to adapt it. If a developer wants to build next to a music venue, they must build to adapt to the noise. If a new occupier moves into a zone where there is an accepted level of noise, they should make changes to adapt it. If DEFRA don't adopt the Agent of Change principle, every venue, every sports ground, every cinema, restaurant, theatre, race track, church, and community space in the country faces bills running into thousands of pounds trying to fight developments or meet an ever evolving demand from new occupiers to modify and adapt their noise. Venues will close without an Agent of Change principle. Adopt the Agent of Change principle Secretaries of State, you can act now to save live music venues in the UK. 

Good noise management requires good legislation. Cut Red Tape.

Good local councils and EHOs need national support to make good and balanced decisions. Establish national criteria, guidelines and advice about noise.

Good town centre development means good facilities and good residential space for all, not a continual battle between local music communities and developers who want to make a fast buck. Adopt the Agent of Change Principle.

We intend to continue to fight for the right of local communities to be able to enjoy great live music venues. We urge you to take action to do the same. We call upon music fans across the UK to unite behind our existing petition - please sign now and force MPs to debate this issue:


Mark Davyd, Sybil Bell, Chris Prosser, Jeremy Mills, Beverley Whitrick, Jason Dormon
Music Venue Trust


SIGN the petition at this link:
TWEET, POST, PLUS and PIN the petition across your social media using #SaveLiveVenuesUK and the link

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Music Venue Trust Launches National Petition to Protect Live Music Venues

The Music Venue Trust has today launched its second national campaign, an HM Government petition calling on the Secretary of State for the Environment to carry out an urgent review of Noise Abatement legislation to ensure that the proper balance is being struck between the individual rights of owners/occupiers and the right of communities to be able to enjoy live music. 

Recent press stories have highlighted the huge threat posed to live music by developers, with town centre venues facing noise abatement notices from brand new flats and new owners/occupiers. Many of these are historic sites; the Night and Day Cafe in Manchester, The Fleece in Bristol, places where music has been enjoyed for many years without problems. The Music Venue Trust believes that venues should be good neighbours, engaging with their local communities and addressing concerns around noise and anti-social behaviour. But we believe that being a good neighbour is a reciprocal process, and that people who choose to live near to community spaces are accepting the responsibility to behave as a good neighbour to their adjoining music venue, church or community space; anywhere it is inevitable and should be acceptable that noise will exist. We believe this is a common sense approach - if you hate sport, why move next to a football pitch? If you hate music, why move next to a live music venue?

Being a good neighbour within a community is fundamentally important and any neighbour who abuses his fellow neighbours in any way should suffer the appropriate legal consequences. However, we believe that the current provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 that relate to Noise and the serving of Noise Abatement notices have unintentionally provided rights to new tenants or developers to limit and control noise that are outside the intent of the common sense approach, and that these rights are being misused to attempt to prevent local communities from being able to enjoy the normal, established and historic use of these spaces. We call upon the Secretary of State for the Environment to act in partnership with the Department for Culture Media and Sport and the Department for Communities and Local Government to urgently review all relevant legislation and amend it so that the rights of existing venues and other "noisy" spaces are suitably recognised within the Acts in a manner that reflects the needs and wishes of local communities.

SIGN the petition: 
TELL your friends, your favourite bands, your local musicians that you want them to publicly support this campaign 
CLICK share on the petition page

Friday, May 9, 2014

Introducing our first Venue Champions

Meet our first 4 Venue Champions, music fans who have volunteered to lead local campaigns to help secure the long-term future of the music venues they love. If you would like to be involved in helping then please get in touch with them: 

Andy Vale - The Boileroom, Guildford -

Kate Findlay - The Roadhouse, Manchester -

Jeff Charlwood - The Forum, Tunbridge Wells -

Andy Carr - Westgarth Social Club, Middlesbrough -

These are just the first of what we hope will be a network across the UK of active fans working together to safeguard the future of small independent music venues.

Venue Champions

The first step in our campaign to secure the future of small independent venues involves a piece of government legislation which allows groups of individuals to nominate a local building as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). An ACV is defined as a building or land used to further the social wellbeing, in particular, though not exclusively, the cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local community. 

Getting a venue listed will not only help change the perception of it with the local council and help us build a map of valued venues, but also means that if the owner puts the building up for sale we can pause the process to attempt to purchase the building ourselves. In many cases there may be no immediate plans to sell the building BUT this does not mean that you should wait to list your beloved venue as an ACV - we are trying to head off the need for "Save our Venue from closing" petitions by getting in much earlier in the process. This is a long-term plan rather than fire-fighting.

Nominating a venue as an ACV is something that can only be done by local music enthusiasts - it can't be done by the venue itself or by the Music Venue Trust. This is why we need VENUE CHAMPIONS across the UK - people who love their local venue and are prepared to not only work with us to fill in the relevant forms, but who are also prepared to be the public face of a local campaign, to speak to local press, and to recruit at least 20 other local residents to sign the all-important Nominators Form.

If you think that you might be a Venue Champion, please read the Venue Champions PDF
and then email us at

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Our Artist Patrons

The Music Venue Trust is proud to be supported by musicians from across the UK. Our first Patrons are Enter Shikari, David Gedge ( The Wedding Present), Jeremy Pritchard (Everything Everything), Moya, Andy Dunlop ( Travis) and Savages. Each of our Patrons has written a special message for us explaining why they want you to support this project and what live music means to them.

Enter Shikari
Salient points regarding Enter Shikari and its position on “small venues” :
1) Enter Shikari cut its teeth playing small venues the length and breadth of the UK over a period of 2 years+, so knows from whence it speaks.
2) Small venues are the bootcamp that prepares a band for taking on the bigger venues and festival stages that hopefully make up its live future.
3) Enter Shikari strongly believes the UK music industry should do more to support small venues.
4) Enter Shikari is proud to add its name to the list of patrons of Music Venues Trust.

David Gedge, The Wedding Present
I’ve always maintained that The Wedding Present are, essentially, a “live” band. By that I mean that one of the main reasons I started playing music in the first place is that I was really excited and inspired by seeing other people’s concerts. So, when it came to my turn, it was incredibly fortunate that there was a network of small venues across the country where we were able to play live. In those venues we honed our craft and developed our style... and obviously enjoyed some memorable nights in the process. And the same applies to countless other artists, of course, which is why these places are so vital. There’s nothing like an intimate venue to experience the raw energy of a band.

Jeremy Pritchard, Everything Everything
Were it not for presence of the Tunbridge Wells Forum while I was growing up, I very much doubt that I would be a professional musician now. The same would be said of countless other individuals who have been inspired and nurtured by similar community live music venues - Southampton Joiners, Bristol Thekla, Oxford Jericho, Manchester Night and Day, Hull Welly, Newcastle Cluny, etc. The UK music industry needs to do more to support its live grassroots, and government needs to recognise that the health and future prosperity of this important British Industry relies on us nurturing these seeds. Very often the commercial value of the property outweighs its commercial value as a music venue, but never its social or cultural value, which is what the Trust aims to protect.

The small venue circuit is absolutely vital to an active and vibrant music industry. Without these gigs how are artists supposed to start making a career for themselves, improve as performers and build a fan base? They are a fundamental part of artist development, especially for those signed to small labels as I am, who cannot throw large sums of cash at instant success. Fans have to be earned, and that can only be done by going out and playing to people. I have learned so much from playing these places, and have had some of my best performance experiences in them, that intimacy can never be replicated in bigger rooms. People will argue that fanbases are built on social media now, but a like on Facebook can never replace seeing a new act for the first time in a small room. We must do everything we can to protect this network.

Andy Dunlop, Travis
These classic little venues dotted around Britain are the Petri dishes in which British music was cultivated over the last half century. To see them disappear would be a crime and in an age where all our town centres are becoming increasingly indistinguishable, we would be denying future generations an independent and individual place to experience live music. They are every bit as important to our cultural heritage as any country house and fundamentally, still provide a cultural service. It's great that the Music Venue Trust has stepped in to do something to protect them.

There are many great small rooms in this country who do great work with limited resources, and they should be applauded and supported. There are also great bands, great musicians and great audiences who love music and deserve the best. It definitely seems a shame that when you ask musicians around the world about the touring conditions in the UK, backstage, PA system quality… you don’t get a more positive response. I come from years of touring the UK and experiencing the worse and the best, it isn’t a secret for anybody : there is still progress to be made. The music industry can definitely affect a change. Labels, managers, big promoters, booking agents, artists and bigger live venues can group together and start to repair the UK’s reputation in live music by supporting initiatives like the Music Venue Trust.

The Music Venue Trust is looking for music fans across the country to become Venue Champions. We have the tools and the support to enable them to protect their local venue. Just send us an email with the title "Venue Champion" to

Our Industry Patrons

The Music Venue Trust is supported by key figures in the UK Music Industry; agents, managers and labels working with artists such as Muse, My Chemical Romance, Black Eyed Peas, Everything Everything, Manic Street Preachers, Stereophonics,The Vaccines, Noah And The Whale, Bombay Bicycle Club, Paramore. Our music industry Patrons are Geoff Meale (The Agency), Paul Buck (Coda), and Scott Thomas (X-Ray Touring)

Each of our Trustees and Patrons has written a special message for us explaining why they want you to support this project and what live music means to them. 

Geoff Meale, The Agency

Geoff has been at the London offices of leading worldwide booking agency The Agency Group since 1992 becoming Managing Director  in 2008. Geoff is a huge supporter and believer in the small venue scene in the UK and holds true the belief that the longest lasting careers come from those artists who pay their dues working up through from small venues. Through the years he’s booked many of his largest clients including Muse, My Chemical Romance, Paramore, The Zutons, Super Furry Animals through this system. In April 2013 he booked a 30 days in 30 dates tour for King Charles across the country. “The small venues of the UK play such an important role in the development of so many bands’ careers and it’s imperative that we as an industry do all we can to support those rooms and promoters who strive to provide such a valuable entertainment option for their communities.” Outside of the Music Industry Geoff is a keen cyclist and a rabid supporter of Liverpool FC.

Paul Buck, Coda Agency
Paul Buck has been at Coda Agency for just over 4 years and has been an agent for over 25. He currently represents the Vaccines, Everything Everything, Noah and the Whale, Palma Violets and Savages and has consistently supported small music venues throughout his career. “I warmly welcome this new initiative; small local venues are important to musicians and audiences alike. The Music Venue Trust has an important role to play in the future of live music in the UK.”

Scott Thomas, Xray Touring
Scott Thomas is one of the founding partners and managing directors of X-ray Touring, one of the world's leading agencies. He became an agent in 1990 and through his career has consistently worked in the UK's smaller venues to develop acts from Manic Street Preachers & Stereophonics to Bombay Bicycle Club and even putting pop superstars such as The Black Eyed Peas through the clubs early in their career before taking them to festival and stadia headliners. "I think as wide a possible selection of small venues throughout the country is essential for the growth of new artists in whatever genre. There is no replacement for the development an act will undergo in their first 50-100 gigs and what is learned there bears fruit on the stages of arenas, festivals and stadia. These venues are also essential to get people into the habit of seeing regular live music on their doorstep." Beyond the music business, Scott is an avid fan of live sport and Welsh rugby in particular.

You can be part of this national campaign. Become a Venue Champion and we will help you to protect your local venue using UK government legislation and working with local audiences. Email us today at

Our Political Patrons

The Music Venue Trust has support from all three major political parties. We are working with politicians, local authorities and national agencies to create a legal framework that protects and secures the future of live music venues. Our political patrons are Kerry McCarthy, The Labour Party, Mike Weatherley MP, Conservatives, and Lord Tim Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrats. Each of our Trustees and Patrons has written a special message for us explaining why they want you to support this project and what live music means to them. 

Kerry McCarthy MP (Labour)
The establishment of the Music Venue Trust comes at a critical time. There has been a worrying decline in small music venues and the irreplaceable loss of classic venues, such as the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. Just recently in Bristol, there are signs that Government changes to permitted development rights to change use of buildings from commercial to residential are causing problems for some of the city’s best-loved venues. Small venues have always played a fundamental role in breaking and nurturing new music – their survival is important for ensuring that successful bands continue to emerge from the grassroots (from “a bunch of guys” getting together with “some shitty old instruments”, as Dave Grohl puts it), and not just from the X-Factor or the BRIT school. They also help maintain Britain’s thriving and diverse alternative music scenes, for those bands that may never play to larger audiences. But critically, they also help sustain the cultural scenes and creative economies of many towns and cities, creating employment and attracting people into city centres. I am very pleased to help support the work of Music Venue Trust in its innovative plan to help small music venues to carry on, as part of a protected network.

Mike Weatherley MP (Conservative)
I was delighted to become a Patron of the Music Venue Trust. Small venues are essential for new talent to launch careers and, quite simply, great fun to attend. As the founder of Rock the House, a Parliamentary competition to raise awareness of the importance of Intellectual Property and live music, promoting small music venues is a core part of the initiative and vital to a thriving British music industry.

Lord Tim Clement-Jones (Lib Dem)
I am delighted to have been asked to be a patron of the Music Venue Trust. Small venues are the bedrock of live music industry and the incubators of new talent. My Live Music Act was designed to clear away some of the red tape tape which surrounds them but if they are allowed to disappear it will all have been in vain. The Music Venue Trust is the start of the preservation fightback.  

Become your local Venue Champion. We can give you the tools and work with you to protect the place you love and ensure it stays a music venue. Contact us today at

Trustees Announced

Each of our Trustees and Patrons has written a special message for us explaining why they want you to support this project and what live music means to them.

Chris Prosser, Owner of Suspicious Marketing Group and Director of the International Live Music Conference
Every year at the ILMC (International Live Music Conference) we discuss the root to success for a band from a live point of view.  With theatres, arenas and stadiums to one side the only factor here that isn’t a variable is the club circuit.  Without it we don’t have the breeding ground for new bands.  We have see the careers of new artists being compressed into ever decreasing timeframes and we have seen their ability to make money decline also.  The one thing we can control is the place where they will be born and nurtured and to me the Music Venues Trust is the nursery where that will happen.

Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director

In the UK there remains an enormous discrepancy between public funding for certain styles of music over others. We all know that we have some of the best pop/rock/punk/indie musicians in the world, yet the support for the small venues in which they develop their skills and stagecraft is incredibly limited. I would love to see the network of independent music venues recognised as forming an integral part of the UK's art infrastructure. I think that the Music Venue Trust can help achieve this.

Jason Dormon, Owner and co-founder of Tunbridge Wells Forum
I really love watching music in intimate spaces, it's an experience that can't be matched. For me, it's how a performance should be shared; the instant crack of the snare, a moment of serendipitous creative genius, a true and very real connection between artist and audience. Small venues are where the bands of tomorrow cut their teeth and learn their art. For the audience and other musicians it's the best place to be truly inspired. For many years this small circuit has been powered on passion, love and a quest for artistic excellence by the performers that play, the audiences that listen and volunteers that want to make things happen. Unfortunately, in the modern climate this alone is now not enough, with these important venues being sold and developed into the latest high street fast food franchise for short term financial gain. The Music Venue Trust is such a simple idea yet provides the ideal solution to protect these invaluable spaces.

Jeremy Mills, LLB TEP FRSA, Legal Advisor
I was fortunate to grow up around aspiring musicians and have access to
an incredible range of live music on my doorstep. Experiencing music like this, at its rawest and closest, has had a huge impact on my social network and tastes, and I am delighted to be part of the Music Venue Trust. We have been working hard to identify legal frameworks that can support this important resource in the future.

Sybil Bell, Founder of Independent Venue Week and FM Music Networking
Local venues are the lifeblood of the live music scene. It’s where bands start out, some of whom go on to play huge arenas around the world. It’s where they learn their craft, both musically and in terms of learning to be on the road. For fans, having somewhere well-run that brings new and exciting music to town is an essential part of the local community. There’s something very magical about going to see a band that you don’t know very much about and that experience when you’re two or three feet away from them – it’s something that can’t be repeated. We need these venues to give opportunities not just to the bands and the teams that support them but also to people who want to learn to work in the live industry and be the next generation of stage managers, sound people, lighting engineers, bookers and promoters. The Music Venue Trust offers the most realistic and robust route for these venues to be preserved and ensure that they will be around for years to come.

Mark Davyd, FRSA, Founder & CEO
The small music venue circuit is the breeding ground of British Music. It's where musicians learn their craft, what works, what doesn't, it's where they build the fan bases that take them to the labels that export them across the world. It's not an exaggeration to say that the small venue circuit is the foundation stone of UK Live Music, a multi-million pound industry employing hundreds of thousands of people across the world, all starting from that first faltering step onto a tiny stage. We have to act together to ensure UK musicians and music fans continue to have access to this essential part of UK music heritage. The Music Venue Trust has an achievable plan which we hope everybody; audiences, musicians and industry, will get behind and support.

You can contact our Board of Trustees directly by email at

Friday, January 31, 2014

What is the Music Venue Trust?

The Music Venue Trust was created in January 2014 to protect the UK live music network. Its immediate focus is on securing the long term future of the iconic venues which make up the "toilet circuit", venues like Southampton Joiners, Tunbridge Wells Forum, the 100 Club, Exeter Cavern, Hull Adelphi, Manchester Band on the Wall etc. These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills. The Music Venue Trust has a clear 5 year plan to ensure those venues continue to play their vital role in supporting the British music success story. 

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The Music Venue Trust was formed in January 2014 to protect and preserve the UK small music venue circuit.