Goat Girl have called for the government to protect independent venues and to treat them with the proper cultural protection that they deserve.
The band, who recently released their sophomore album On All Fours, are an example of a group who cut their teeth at many of the esteemed venues that are currently under threat amid the financial stresses of a global pandemic. Last year, 1,385 grassroots spaces, including theatres, museums and cultural organisations across England received a £257million grant, which came from the government’s £1.57billion Culture Recovery Fund. Whilst this was a short-term boost to the venues, it doesn’t prevent them from being closed and replaced by luxury apartments in the future.
Speaking to NME, the band’s bassist Holly’ Hole’ Mullineaux said: “It would be good if there was some sort of cultural protection, like how a building is grade-listed. These places are for the community and you can’t put a price on what they bring – and they can’t be replaced once they’re gone.
“Obviously, we want venues to be funded and all of that, but there should also be something that protects them and says, ‘You can’t turn this into housing’ or ‘You can’t turn this into a car park’.”
Guitarist Ellie ‘LED’ Rose Davies added: “With that protection, you could also have a rent cap on places of social importance. People get priced out. There should be a rent cap full stop, actually.”
In the same interview, Mullineaux also discussed how the UK’s Brexit trade deal would negatively affect the music industry as playing Europe is no longer as simple as it once was. This complexity is due to the deal failing to exempt musicians in its list of workers who don’t need a visa to enter the EU for business purposes. “Obviously not everyone had money to get the tunnel across before, but you could just go and play a gig in Paris and get paid enough to cover the train or ferry.
“It will mean only bigger and more elite bands can do that and that’s a shame. It’s also a shame that European bands won’t be able to come and do the same thing over here,” Mullineaux added.