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£2.2 million comes to Scottish grassroots music venues

By Margaret Chrystall

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ECONOMY secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced that Scottish grassroots music venues will receive £2.2 million from Scottish Government to stabilise venues and prevent permanent closure.

The fund was agreed with Music Venue Trust and will support grassroots music venues until October.

James Carr, who runs Inverness live music venue Tooth & Claw, said: “I’m over the moon, the Music Venue Trust is over the moon!”

Tooth & Claw owners James Carr and Paulina run the grassroots live venue, on opening night with first band band Bossy Love.
Tooth & Claw owners James Carr and Paulina run the grassroots live venue, on opening night with first band band Bossy Love.

The MVT, which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK and 74 member venues in Scotland, has been working with Scottish Government since venues were forced to close due to lockdown in March.

James said: “The money will be divided up between the embers of the MVT in ScotlandThere are certain places in more desperate need than me, but this money will allow the grassroots venues to surviveand thrive.”

At the end of the three-month period the money was given to cover, there will be an assessment to see what might be left and what else might need to be done to help then.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of the Music Venue Trust, said: “Music Venue Trust is delighted to have agreed this funding with Scottish Government, and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues.

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely."

Grassroots music venues are the ‘research and development’ hub of Scotland's music industry’ and invaluable community hubs, the MVT maintains.

MVT expects venues which fit the criteria to be eligible for the fund which is intended to cover fixed costs which include rent, non-furloughed staff, servicing debts and utilities.

Nick Stewart, from Sneaky Pete's in Edinburgh, said: "This provides a lifeline for venues like Sneaky Pete's whose future hangs in the balance. With no income in the pipeline and no reliable timeline for opening, venues' staff have been distraught, especially as other enterprise or arts funding schemes were inaccessible to them.

“This will provide well-earned relief for these venues, and not before time.

“At Sneaky Pete's we can begin to plan our recovery now, so that we can bring back music to our community who have really rallied behind us in an incredible way.

“We get supportive messages every day from music fans aching to see us reopen. They say you don't know what you've got ‘til it's gone, but thanks to this great news we are still here!"

MVT previously called upon Westminster for an immediate cash injection of £50m for UK GMVs and a cut in VAT on tickets and orchestrated the #saveourvenues campaign which, to date, has raised £2.5m in donations and grants.

They were also key players in the ongoing #letthemusicplay campaign with the wider live music community, which has seen a huge outpouring of support from artists and the public.

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