“The case for massive investment in grassroots music venues is practically indisputable. Cultural and economic factors are significant, as is the mental health benefits and stimulation live music delivers.”
By Samuel Sweek, Peace & Justice Project
The British live music industry is under serious threat.
With the unprecedented hammerblow of the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis, not to mention the ravaging austerity that has been inflicted on our country for well over a decade, has brought many grassroots music venues and theatres to their knees.
Last year, grassroots music venues hosted over 20 million people at concerts and brought £500m into the UK economy. Despite this, factors such as operating costs, maintenance and wages meant that the sector is operating on a profit margin of approximately 0.2%.
This is unsustainable.
We must stand up for these creative spaces and ensure everyone, in all communities, has access to live music. Without action, the risk of losing an entire generation of talent is far too great.
Last month, the Peace & Justice Project launched its Music For The Many campaign with a special gig at The Lexington in London. The event, which sold out the iconic Islington music venue, featured performances from up-and-coming artists Deuxes and Diamond Country Dance Club alongside HotWax who, later this year, will be opening for indie rock royalty The Strokes in London’s Victoria Park.
Without the opportunity to play the touring circuit and cultivate a fan base or following, first locally and then in the mainstream, there are few avenues available for talent to be properly nurtured.
There is also a significant economic benefit that grassroots music venues bring to towns and cities up and down the country, with many jobs supported by crowds of people enjoying local food, bars and culture.
Public transport is also an essential part of many people’s live music experience and those travelling to concerts and theatre performances by trains and buses certainly generate a substantial income for both local and national operators.
The case for massive investment in grassroots music venues is practically indisputable. Cultural and economic factors are significant, as is the mental health benefits and stimulation live music delivers.
That is another area Music For The Many is focusing on — providing a safe, welcoming space for all. The great care we have taken in ensuring diversity in our line-ups is, in itself, a challenge but a vital hurdle that all organisers must overcome.
The Music For The Many campaign is still in its infancy but its supporters have already sent hundreds of letters to Members of Parliament, demanding they stand up for grassroots music venues — and there is plenty more action to come, including bringing our gigs to different venues in cities up and down the country.
Music has united people around issues for generations, against racism, oppressive governments, the climate crisis and so much more. Now we must unite to ensure the future of music itself.
Join us at The Waiting Room in London on Thursday 11 May, tickets are still available here. We are delighted that some incredible up-and-coming artists, Hex Girlfriend and Tarantina, will be performing, as well as guest speakers from Love Music Hate Racism, Just Stop Oil, Hackney Anti-Raids and Lesbians & Gays Support The Miners, as well as Peace & Justice Project founder Jeremy Corbyn.
- “Music For The Many: Live in London” takes place on Thursday May 11th – book your tickets and find out more here.
- Samuel Sweek is the Media Co-Ordinator for the Peace & Justice Project. You can follow Samuel on twitter here; and the PPJ on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
- You can see more photos from the launch of the Music For The Many Campaign below.
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