Music Venue Trust announces ‘The Artist Pledge’

Artists commit to support grassroots music venues through ticket levy. Frank Turner, Enter Shikari, snake eyes, The Luka State, Sister, Red Rum Club, Vigilantes and more have signed the pledge

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If we can’t change the music industry now, then we’ll change it in 10 years’ time

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced ‘The Artist Pledge’, a campaign that calls on artists to commit to support grassroots music venues at the point in their careers when they are headlining arenas. Already more than 45 artists, including Frank Turner, snake eyes, The Luka State, Sister, Red Rum Club, Vigilantes, have signed the pledge to ensure that every grassroots artist, venue, and promoter, not only survives, but thrives. Enter Shikari donated £1 from every ticket sold for their recent 2024 UK arena tour.

“We would be nothing without the support of the venues and promoters of the hundreds of sweaty gigs we did to hone our sound. This year we are touring some of the country’s finest grassroots music venues. If (when!) we get to the point of playing arenas, we will make sure that those gigs financially support the grassroots that helped us get there.”  – The Luka State

“We support this campaign to ensure that we all take responsibility for protecting the grassroots music ecosystem. We understand how important grassroots music venues are – Amersham Arms was an important part in our journey as a band. Live music is everything and we have to keep it alive, now and for future generations!” – Sister

In 2023, 16% of the UK’s vital grassroots music venues closed or ceased to programme new music. The rocketing cost-of-living, the soaring costs of energy, accommodation, staffing, supplies, rent and rates all hit the basic expenses of staging and playing live shows. Closures continue at a rate of more than one per week. Meanwhile, the commercial live music industry, at arena, major festival, and stadium level, is predicting another record year.

Music Venue Trust has been campaigning for the upper echelons of the music industry to reinvest in the grassroots sector since 2018. The charity’s proposal is simple: Every concert ticket sold at arena and stadium level should contain a levy as a financial contribution back into the grassroots to ensure the economic sustainability of the Grassroots Music Venue sector.

The charity’s campaign was recently supported by the cross-party Culture Media and Sport Committee of MPs who published a report calling for a levy on all arena and stadium concert tickets.  The Committee also called for the industry to ensure the levy cost is not passed on to music fans and stipulated that if there is no agreement by September or if it fails to collect enough income to support the sector, the Government should step in and introduce a statutory levy.

While the music industry is deciding how it will respond to the report and take responsibility for the talent pipeline, MVT have turned to the artists themselves.  The Artist Pledge asks artists to pledge that their future success will acknowledge where they came from and contribute a small amount of money back into the grassroots sector, if and when they reach arena level.

Toni Coe-Brooker, Campaign & Communications lead at Music Venue Trust, said “We are asking artists today to stand with all of us in the grassroots sector as a show of solidarity. We are asking for a commitment that when you reach a point in your career when you can insist on change, you will demand that change. We want you to be clear, now, at this stage in your career that when you reach the arena and stadium level, you will expect everyone working for and with you – your manager, agent, promoter, the venue itself – to find a way to send financial support back down the pipeline.”

To sign the pledge or for more information go to musicvenuetrust.com/the-artist-pledge

Sam Hyland
Author: Sam Hyland

Sam is the assistant content manager for Event Industry News (EIN). Sam is involved in publishing news stories, videos and podcasts. Sam also collates the latest stories for the EIN e-newsletter. If you have a press release or story you think we might be interested to know about please email editor@eventindustrynews.com

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