Music venues across the region yesterday joined more than 500 others across the country in calling for a £50m support package to help stop hundreds potentially permanently closing due to the impact of the Coronavirus.
While the Government has given the green light for pubs to re-open, music venues still face an uncertain future because of restrictions on live performances.
In an open letter to the Government, 560 of the Music Venue Trust’s member venues are calling for the financial support package and a reduction of VAT on future ticket sales.
The letter was been signed by Phil Moore from The Black Prince, Natalie Norris-Lee from The Roadmender, Will Gilchrist from The Lab and Chris D’alessio from The Picturedrome - all Northampton venues.
It has also been signed by Gareth Barber from Esquires in Bedford, Monica Ferguson from The Stables in Wavendon, Jason Hall from the Craufurd Arms and Jamie Stimpson from Unit Nine - both in Wolverton and Marc O’Brien at MK11 in Milton Keynes.
In the letter, the venues state: “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 March 20 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.”
The venues argue that if the financial support and VAT relief package are introduced, they would prevent the closure of hundreds of venues.
Yesterday, in the Government’s guidelines for pubs, bars and restaurants, it stated live performances were not permitted in front of live audiences.
The letter adds: “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 the Government to take two simple steps and leave us to work out how to do the rest.“
Grassroots music venues are vital to the whole of the UK’s music industry and provide a crucial platform for musicians.
Thousands of people are also employed in associated jobs throughout the industry.
For more information about the Music Venue Trust, visit: http://musicvenuetrust.com/