Music Venue Trust launches campaign for community ownership of grassroots venues

© Mic Connor Photography

The new initative seeks to tackle the issue of ownership that poses threat to independent music venues.

Today (23 May) the Music Venue Trust has launched their new Own Our Venues campaign to secure the future of grassroots music spaces in the UK. Offering an alternative to the current model, Music Venue Properties proposes to remove landlords and private ownership from venues and create a more sustainable landscape for music establishments as a result.

According to the Music Venue Trust, 35% of grassroots music venues have closed in the past 20 years. Campaigners have been calling for venues to own their buildings, particularly in the wake of Nambucca in London’s closure earlier this month and the current threats faced by The Leadmill in Sheffield.

In response to this, Music Venue Properties is seeking to create long-term security for venues. Set up as a Charitable Community Benefit Society, they are raising funds via community shares. Music fans and investors can donate to their Crowdfunder and become shareholders. Music Venue Properties will use the money raised to purchase freeholds of UK grassroots music venues and rent “them back to the operators at a fairer rate than their present landlords, with greater security and better understanding of the sector – to make them more valued and to help them grow.”

The organisation has selected 9 UK grassroots venues for the initial pilot project before they hope to expand the alternative ownership model to more places across the UK. Venues involved in this first stage include Glasgow’s The Glad Café, Le Pub in Newport, Preston venue The Ferret – where Blackhaine is set to play this week – and The Polar Bear in Hull. For full information and to support the initiative head to the Own Our Venues Crowdfunder page.

Check out the campaign video, which features FKA twigs and Nova Twins, below.

Bristol venue Exchange previously ran a similar campaign, becoming a community-owned gig and club space.