U.K. Music Venues Form Alliance to Stop Closings

Concert halls in the U.K. have banded together—with the support of London's mayor and the U.K.'s  leading music industry association—to end the recent rash of closures of small music venues.

The big venues may bring in all the cash, but it’s the small ones that act as launching pads for rock stars. And the United Kingdom’s music industry wants to ensure that those venues have a bright future ahead of them.

The Music Venues Alliance, a new trade group for more than 100 small concert venues throughout the U.K., came about in response to a spate of music hall closings throughout the country. The alliance will work closely with Music Venues Trust, a lobbying group that represents the venues, and within the UK Music UK Live Music Group, the country’s main music trade group.

“The UK has an incredibly strong music heritage,” UK Music CEO Jo Dipple said of the effort in a news release. “It must have an equally strong music future. Our venues are a vital part of this.”

Dipple, who presides over a $5.75 billion industry, said that a number of big-name artists got their start in London clubs, including AC/DC, The Who, Mumford & Sons, and the Rolling Stones.

A Big Music Backer

The group already has one key supporter. London Mayor Boris Johnson has previously expressed concern about the closure of live music venues in the city. He noted his role in saving one such venue, the Ministry of Sound, from closure in the wake of nearby redevelopment efforts.

“We actually bent over [and] we finally got a deal that protected the rights of the revelers at the Ministry of Sound in Elephant & Castle,” he said during a public meeting in November, adding that he pledged to “see what we can do to help” about saving the Coronet, which is also under threat of closure.

That help appears to be in the works. Johnson met with music industry officials Tuesday as part of an effort to figure out how the city can help keep music venues in London. London Deputy Mayor for Culture and Education Munira Mirza, who co-hosted the meeting, backed the formation of the alliance.

“We are committed to working more closely with venues and will be setting up a taskforce to look at the issues affecting them, including planning,” Mirza said in a statement on Monday. “We warmly welcome the formation of the Music Venues Alliance, which will provide a single voice for an important sector for the capital.”


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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