Boris Johnson says it’s worrying to see London’s music venues closing – watch

Mayor Of London describes venues as "teeming wombs of London talent"

Mayor Of London Boris Johnson has said it’s “worrying” that London venues are being forced to close due to rising property prices and redevelopment in the capital.

Johnson described venues as “teeming wombs of London talent” and stressed the economic importance of the UK’s homegrown talent to the country’s economy.

In a video, which is framed by snatches of The Clash’s ‘London Calling’, Johnson announced the launch of the Music Venues Taskforce, a registered charity that aims to protect, support and improve Independent Live Music Venues in the UK.

Johnson said: “For the last six or seven years, I’ve been making an impassioned speech in which I point out how London has more live music venues than any other city on earth. It’s in those venues, those teeming wombs of London talent that of course we hope to produce not just fantastic music now but the next Rolling Stones, the next Adele, the next Ed Sheeran or Sam Smith.”

He continued: “They’re of huge economic importance, not just cultural importance, to our city, and that’s why it’s so worrying that we’re seeing the pressure from property prices, from development, take away so many of those live venues across town. That’s why we’ve set up the live music venue task force and why their work is so important. Let’s keep our live music venues live in London.”

The Music Venue Trust, which is behind the Taskforce, says its aim for the charity is to “[send] a message, loud and clear, to the music industry, the cultural sector and to the Government, that UK Music Venues are essential to our culture and must be legislatively and financially supported in a way that reflects their real value to artists, audiences and communities.”

London has seen a number of venues close due to redevelopment, including iconic establishment The Astoria and – most recently – Soho’s 12 Bar Club, which was occupied by a group of squatters called ‘Bohemians 4 Soho’ in protest on January 23.

NME supports Britain’s small venues with its annual campaign to find Britain’s Best Small Venue in association with JD Roots.