The UK’s culture minister Ed Vaizey has encouraged small music venues to apply for arts funding.

Speaking at a conference on the current state of live music, he said: “A vibrant music venue which is breaking new acts has just as much right to be considered a cultural venue as a local or regional theatre.”

The Music Venue day conference highlighted how grassroots venues are under threat and follows the publication earlier this week of a plan to rescue London’s small venues, which called for the creation of a “night mayor” to look after the city’s night-time economy.

Mr Vaizey supported the idea, if not the name, joking: “I like the idea of running to be a nightmare in future elections.”

Joyce Wilson of Arts Council England also encouraged venues to apply for funding, saying that only a “relatively small” number of venues – including Band on the Wall in Manchester, Cecil Sharp House in London and The Stables in Milton Keynes – currently received arts funding.

“Not many of you do apply to the arts council,” she said. “It’s really hard to support you if you don’t come and talk to us.”

Some venue owners were sceptical, however, with Mark Davyd of the Music Venues Trust pointing out: “We don’t have time to fill in hours and hours of very rigorous paperwork. And if I did it, you wouldn’t understand anyway.

“I want to put on a guy who’s playing white noise through a trumpet for no apparent reason, other than the fact that it might annoy someone and it’s just brilliant. It doesn’t fit in what you’ve got.”

London has lost 35 per cent of its grassroots music venues since 2007, according to this week’s report. Over the past 18 months we’ve seen the closures of Vibe Bar, Madame Jojo’s and The Joiners to name a few, while the birthplace of UK garage has become an estate agent. [via BBC]

 

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