Subscribe to our newsletter

(Credit: Alani Cruz)


Music Venue Trust launches scheme to buy grassroots venues

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced ‘Music Venue Properties’ a progressive and possibly groundbreaking new initiative that involves buying the freehold of grassroots music venues across the country. 

‘Music Venue Properties’ (MVP) is a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS), and it aims to guarantee the long-term future of grassroots venues by directly tackling the controversial issue of ownership. 

Technically, a CCBS can raise money through community shares. By purchasing these, music fans and other investors can help raise money that will allow MVP to buy the freeholds whilst also receiving a three per cent APR return on their investment. It’s a win-win situation for all those involved. 

Now, in a new interview with NME, the coordinator of MVT ownership, Matt Otridge explained: “It’s essentially a not-for-profit, charitable organisation that allows us to raise funds via community shares, which then allows anybody who invests money to be a part of that society. So it’s very equitable – one investment equals one vote at AGMs – it’s completely community focused, and it’s a good mechanism to promote longevity and community aspirations.”

He continued: “We’re calling this bit the pilot project, and we’re hoping that eventually it will grow and grow into a point where we have hundreds of venues that are owned by Music Venue Properties and hundreds of venues that would benefit from having a landlord that literally can’t be motivated by profits because it’s a not-for-profit organisation, as well as a landlord that shares their ambitions in seeing more money going back into the circuit.”

Per an account by the trust, in the past 20 years over 35% of grassroots music venues have closed, with 93% of these being tenants that still have 18 months left on their tenancy. 

Compounding the pressure of running a venue in this sector is the harmful effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, meaning it now owns £90 million in debt, making it increasingly economically unfeasible to run a venue. Adding insult to injury is that 67% of the Cultural Recovery Fund grant was paid directly to landlords, and not the venues, where it should have gone. 

The MVT sees ownership as a positive means of alleviating the many uncertainties faced by tenanted grassroots venue operators, and at face value, it looks like the best solution anyone has put forward yet. 

Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.