Music fans and gig-goers are being encouraged to pick up some official merchandise to help save their local venue.
Following the spread of the Omicron COVID variant and new restrictions imposed upon the UK, a huge drop in turn-outs at shows and events due to either illness or reduced public confidence has left music venues “on the brink of collapse”.
Now is the time when many venues, clubs, pubs and theatres make enough money to see them through the first quarter of the next year. This is also having a huge impact on the staff, crew and freelancers who make night-time entertainment happen, with many already losing work well into 2022.
With much-needed government financial support and the reinstatement of furlough still forthcoming, music fans are being encouraged to pick up some merchandise from the Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurVenues store. As well as official MVT merch, you can also buy t-shirts, prints and more sold by your local venue, as well as limited edition music albums and much more.
“Audiences and local communities did so much to Save Our Venues in the last two year,” an MVT spokesperson told NME. “The situation is very grim again, and we strongly encourage everyone who loves their grassroots music venue or lives for live music to see what they can do to support their local space as it deals with the current struggles.
“One simple thing you can do is to visit the venue’s website or saveourvenuesmerch.co.uk and pick up some venue merch – there’s a fantastic selection of shirts, hats, posters, belts, beanies, just about everything any real live music fan could want. Please support local live music and local businesses at Christmas.”
In just one week, losses have come to over £2million with 86 per cent of grassroots music venues reporting negative impacts and 61 per cent being forced to cancel at least one event due to touring party members testing positive for COVID, functions being cancelled by organisers or poor ticket sales. Overall, attendance at shows held at grassroots venues has dropped by 23 per cent (but up to 40 per cent across live music in general) with over 140,000 ‘no shows’ from ticket holders resulting in a 27 per cent decline in gross income.
“This is the busiest time of the year for grassroots music venues, representing more than 20 per cent of their annual income being raised during the party season,” said Beverley Whitrick, Strategic Director of MVT.
She continued: “Rapid declines in attendance at this time of year represent an exponential threat to the whole sector, and losses of this magnitude cannot be sustained without throwing hundreds of music venues into crisis mode and at risk of permanent closure. A ‘no show’ isn’t just lost ticket income, it’s lost bar take and excess staff costs.”
MVT CEO Mark Davyd said the current crisis threw venues back to “exactly where we were in March 2020″, arguing that once again “confusing government messaging had created a ‘stealth lockdown’ with venues apparently able to open but in reality haemorrhaging money at a rate that will inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it.”
This comes at a time when UK music venues are already facing £90million of debt due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.
Visit here for information on how to help or donate to the #SaveOurVenues campaign.