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


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