The Music Venues Taskforce: London's Grassroots Music Venues Rescue Plan
24 Oct 2015
The Music Venues Taskforce was set up by the Mayor of London to work out why so many music venues have closed and what impact this is having on London’s culture and economy. The Taskforce has found that London’s grassroots music venues are pivotal to the ongoing success of the UK music industry and contribute to London’s desirability as a place to live, work and visit. These small and medium sized venues nurture talent, create communities and ferment innovation.
However, planning, licensing, policing and fiscal policy is struggling to balance the needs of grassroots music venues with those of residents and businesses. An increasing population means that residential development is taking place cheek-by-jowl
with night-time activity. This pressure, coupled with rising property prices and increasing costs for grassroots music venues, is proving too much and venues are closing.
The Taskforce has also found signs of market failure within the music industry. The research and development function that grassroots music venues undertake has not been properly supported. There is now a need to rebuild London’s grassroots venues and invest in new talent so that all parts of the music industry ecosystem return to full health.
The Taskforce has proposed a rescue package for music venues that address these problems. This follows extensive consultation with government, local authorities and the music industry. The report also sets out an ambition to create new venues and harness the benefits of London’s tourism boom through new promotional campaigns.
But most importantly the Taskforce calls for a change in the way we think about music venues. Grassroots music venues are cultural spaces, risk-takers, hubs of innovation and place-makers. They need to be recognised as such in policy documents. Music venues also need to enter the day-to-day conversations of economists, planners, licensers, police, tourism experts, culture professionals and music industry decision makers.
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