An Open Letter to the UK Government
We are the owners and operators of the UK’s Grassroots Music Venues.
Our Grassroots Music Venues are the fundamental foundations and cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2 billion per year music industry has been built for the last 60 years. Without our Grassroots Music Venues, there would be no Beatles. No Stones, no Led Zeppelin, no Duran Duran, no Sade, no Oasis, no Skunk Anansie, no Adele, no Ed Sheeran, no Dua Lipa. Our Grassroots Music Venues are absolutely essential to the whole UK music industry bouncing back at any time in the future.
Our sector delivers training, rehearsal spaces, recording opportunities and career development to thousands of young people and are essential to our communities. We do not just support the next generation of world beating artists. Grassroots Music Venues are where people come together, where they celebrate, where they socialise. Thousands of cultural professionals get their first taste of working in the creative industries in our venues, including many of those who go on to work in areas other than music. Grassroots Music Venues sit at the very heart of our creative nation.
Public Health advice is clear. Singing is a high-risk activity. Dancing is a high-risk activity. Standing close to other people is a high-risk activity. Being in a confined space for a long period is a high-risk activity. These are the four pillars of the live music experience we offer in our venues. Coming
together with friends and communities to dance and sing with your favourite artists in any of the 800 grassroots music venues across the UK is the very core and purpose of why we exist.
Last year there were more than 175,000 events in our venues that gave people the experiences they love and the artists the opportunities they need. Since 20 March there have been no events.
This is because our sector has complied with the Public Health guidance. We did the right thing. We closed to protect our communities. We engaged with the government task force and we explored every option available to reopen safely and bring live music back. We understand that in order to
protect the public, it should not be done until the health guidance changes and we also know that trying to do it is economic folly which would be financially ruinous; not just for us but for our entire sector.
It is now time for the government to do the right thing.
We are represented by Music Venue Trust, who have laid out a simple clear plan to the government of the support our sector needs to survive the next three months (July, August, September) and to recover in the future. It consists of just two steps.
- A £50 million financial support package immediately
- A reduction on VAT on future ticket sales, bringing tax in UK Grassroots Music Venues into
line with our major international competitors
These measures are simple, quick, effective and would prevent the closure of hundreds of
Grassroots Music Venues. They are the right thing to do. We are a dynamic, innovative, and inventive sector. We do not need permanent government intervention to exist. We are not asking to become a permanently subsidised drain on the public purse. We do not need the government to step in and tell us how to run our venues. We need government to take two simple steps and leave us to work out how to do the rest.
We need you to do the right thing.
You can download this letter HERE – We encourage you to send it to your local MP & councillors, with a cover letter in your own words, explaining your own circumstances and why live music and venues are so important to you.
You could use this format;
|1. Find your MP at this site: https://www.writetothem.com/|
2. Use the messaging system to write a personal message to the MP about your venue, include the following bullet points:
• Name of the venue you are writing about
• Any previous times you have written to the MP before, or a statement that you have not contacted them before
• A brief description of the challenges you have already faced and the impact on you personally
• This statement: Our venue is part of a national network of venues who have today written to the government asking them for the support we need to prevent hundreds of venues being closed down. I have copied that open letter below for you.
• The current future you face if they do not act. We ask you to be brutally honest here; if you will not survive until 1 October unless you receive government support you need to say so. Do not try to paint a positive picture, do not try to struggle through, be blunt. If you venue is going to be closed down by the crisis without their support, this is the time to tell your MP.
• Explain what this means to your local community
3. Sign your letter
4. COPY AND PASTE the whole Open Letter below your signature