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Save Our Venues: Why Grassroots Music Venues Are Important and What You Can Do To Help Them

Grassroots music venues are essential to our music scene, without these venues bands wouldn’t survive the music industry as a whole would not be as successful as it is. Grassroots venues are where a lot of bands are discovered by record labels or management companies which mean that the band can progress in the industry and start to make more of a steady income from making music.

They are also a massive part of our musical culture, meaning that as music lovers we can go and see the bands we’ve been listening to, or discover new bands while enjoying a night out. I’ve said it before, but live music is honestly my favourite thing ever. I love having a look at my local venues websites to see what bands are playing and giving them a listen to decide if I want to go. I’ve had some of my favourite nights out in the walls of a small music venue with an engaged crowd and bands that are sure to get big someday.

COVID-19 means that currently a lot of these venues are at risk of closure and therefore the loss of this culture and huge stepping stone in a bands career. Grassroots music venues closing doesn’t only mean that though, it also means hundreds of people in the industry will lose their jobs, from promoters, sound engineers and bar staff. These are the people that make the industry work, without these people we wouldn’t have the gigs or the venues wouldn’t be running smoothly at all.

Currently the government has stepped in with some emergency funding to help these venues however some venues and promoters have pointed out that so far no one has received any money from the £1.57bn the government has put aside and the 21st of August was the day the venues could put their case forward to receive some of this money to help. This doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed any of the emergency funding, and no one will find out until October whether they have been successful. This means that some venues may have to close anyway as they cannot justify being open until October without being able to put on any gigs.

So, how can we help? There are many ways as patrons that we can help our favourite venues to survive this hard period. The most direct and easiest way is probably through donating to the Music Venue Trust who are working hard to help venues through this time. I will leave a link at the end of this post to their website so you can go and read for yourself what they have been doing and what resources they have available to venues. If you can, donating to them would be very helpful, though I understand that not everyone is in a position to donate right now as there are tough times for everyone.

Another way to help is through buying merchandise from the venues themselves. Many of the venues are selling t-shirts, hats, mugs etc, that have some really cool designs by some local artists so not only are you supporting the venue but also the artist, and you get some cool merchandise out of it as well.

The Music Venue Trust has also partnered with Fightback Larger to raise money for their campaign; there are 4 different types of drinks to choose from as well as different combination packs and a pint glass you can buy to go along with it. I think this is another really great idea, it’s not too expensive and you can get a drink out of it too. I will leave the link at the end of this post to the fightback larger website so you can have a look for yourselves.

At the moment some venues are starting to open again with social distancing measures in place so you and your friends can go there for a drink. If you can get to your venues safely then why not support them by going for a drink there? The staff working will probably be grateful for some company too. Maybe while you’re there you can buy tickets to go to a gig when they are back? Many venues are starting to announce some great gigs for next year already, I’ve already got some great ones booked and am sure that you will all be able to find at least one that you want to go to, convince your friends to join you as well and then not only have you got something to look forward to but you are helping the venues stay open and the promoters keep their jobs.

And finally, another thing you can do to help is spread the word. This doesn’t cost anything and it makes other people aware of what’s going on.

I hope some of you can help out someway so that we can all start going to gigs again safely hopefully in the near future, and so that the music industry can keep thriving.

Thanks for reading, until next time…

Music Venue Trust website here.

Fightback Larger website here.

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