135 music venues receive emergency grants from £3.36m support fund

The Government is set to deliver £3.36 million in grants to 135 grassroots music venues facing closure.

The Troubadour in London, where Adele and Ed Sheeran performed early gigs, and The Jacaranda in Liverpool, where The Beatles hosted some of their first rehearsals, are among the recipients of the emergency funding.

The money is the first to be distributed from the Government’s £1.57 billion support package for the arts, and Arts Council England, which is delivering the funding, anticipates venues will receive the money by the end of next week.

Thirty-eight venues in London, 12 in the South West, 23 in the South East, 21 in the Midlands and 41 in the North will receive grants of up to £80,000.

Coronavirus – Wed Jul 15, 2020
Coronavirus – Wed Jul 15, 2020

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) initially earmarked £2.25 million for the grants but put forward an additional £1.1 million in response to demand.

Two Manchester venues that were identified by the Music Venue Trust as being at risk of permanent closure are among those receiving grants.

Gorilla will receive £31,000 and The Deaf Institute £15,000.

The Sunflower Lounge, one of the oldest music venues in Birmingham, will receive £33,000 and The Louisiana in Bristol, where Florence + The Machine played to small audiences as a fledgling act, will take £5,500.

The funding will be used to cover ongoing costs including rent, utilities, maintenance contracts and other bills.

Indoor performances at music venues are now allowed to go ahead as long as they observe new rules.

Under the Government guidelines, such venues will have to operate at a reduced capacity and limit ticket sales to ensure distancing can be maintained inside.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This Government is here for culture and these grants today show we are determined to help our exceptional music industry weather the Covid storm and come back stronger.

British Summer Time festival – London
British Summer Time festival – London

“Grassroots music venues are where the magic starts and these emergency grants from our £1.57 billion fund will ensure these music venues survive to create the Adeles and Ed Sheerans of the future.

“I encourage music fans to help too by supporting music and cultural events as they start to get going again.

“We need a collective effort to help the things we love through Covid.”

Music Venue Trust founder and chief executive Mark Davyd said: “We warmly welcome this first distribution from the Culture Recovery Fund which will ensure that the short-term future of these venues is secured while we continue to work on how we can ensure their long-term sustainability.

“Both DCMS and Arts Council England have worked very quickly to fully understand the imminent risk of permanent closure faced by a significant number of grassroots music venues across the country, and the funding they’ve brought forward creates a real breathing space for under pressure venues.”