The Music Venue Trust has released a statement in response to the British government’s latest coronavirus measures, asking them to reconsider “specific challenges” they present to grassroots venues.
- READ MORE: Here are the 30 UK music venues still in real danger of closing forever – and what you can do to help
Earlier today (November 23), Boris Johnson announced a new three-tiered system which will come into place once England leaves lockdown on December 2 and remain until the end of March.
Under the new system live audiences will be allowed to return to gigs, sporting events and business events in tiers 1 and 2, with the government introducing ‘spectator capacity limits’ which will vary depending on whether the event is held indoors or out.
In tier 2, however, alcohol may only be sold alongside what the government describes as “a substantial meal”.
The Music Venue Trust has issued a statement in response, urging the government to rethink the restrictions’ application to venues in tier 2.
“MVT has repeatedly detailed to HM Government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales,” the statement said.
“It is not possible to deliver an economically viable event in this sector without the financial support provided by alcohol sales. 92% of Grassroots Music Venues do not have the necessary facilities to provide substantial food.”
The MVT suggested that the issue can be averted by “correctly identifying the purchase of a ticket as having equivalent intention by the consumer to the purchase of a meal.”
“The consumption of Food and the consumption of Culture as the main purpose of an individual’s behaviour could, and should, be treated equally,” the MVT continued. The charitable organisation described the fact that someone can drink as much at a restaurant as they like prior to a gig, but not at the gig itself, as “inconsistent and illogical”.
Earlier this month, The Music Venue Trust launched a new campaign to save 30 UK venues still in danger of being lost forever in the wake of coronavirus restrictions after an impressive 89 per cent of England’s grassroots music venues who applied for the Culturural Recovery Fund Arts Council grants were successful – meaning that hundreds will be receiving a share of over £41million and largely mothballed until at least April when it is hoped that full-capacity gigs might be able to safely return. Now, the MVT are focusing their #SaveOurVenues campaign on the 30 UK music venues which received either no funding or not enough to survive.
See the full list here with links to support each venue through Crowdfunding or other initiatives here, and find details of how to write to your local councillor and ask for their support here.
Many industry spokespeople representing musicians, crew workers and other freelancers and self-employed continue to call for a tailored sector-specific support package to help them survive until full capacity live music can return – including a ‘Seat Out To Help Out’ scheme.