LONDON (CelebrityAccess) – The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced the formal launch of Music Venue Properties (MVP), a new campaign involving the purchase of grassroots music venues across the UK. MVP is classified as a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) organization and aims to secure the future of said venues by going after ownership.
The MVT was established initially to help grassroots venues in the UK facing challenges due to the COVID pandemic and those facing issues even before – rising costs and gentrification of areas where the venues are located, to name just a few. In their press release before their launch, MVT claims the issue of ownership (93% of grassroots venues rent and don’t own their buildings) “underpins almost every other challenge.”
According to the MVT, over 35% of grassroots music venues have closed in 20 years. The sector has acquired over $113 million in new debt since the start of COVID, yet most grant aid found its way into the hands of landlords/owners instead of venue operators.
As a CCBS, the MVP can raise money via community shares. MVT explains via a press release, “By purchasing these shares, music fans and ethical investors will help raise funds to allow MVP to buy freeholds while receiving a 3% APR return on their investment.” It provides the purchased venue some security in knowing the landlord/owner of their venue has a common interest.
Once the freeholds on the buildings are acquired, “it will offer the majority of current operators an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance, while guaranteeing long-term security and market resistant rents.”
MVT CEO Mark Dayvd said to CMU: “This is the most ambitious initiative Music Venue Trust has ever undertaken. The long-term security and prosperity of grassroots music venues depends almost entirely on one thing – ownership. Too many have been at the mercy of some commercial landlords whose motivations revolve primarily around profit”.
Nine venues have been identified as part of the pilot, freeholds it will seek to acquire this year following its initial round of fundraising. The Polar Bear (Hull), The Ferret (Preston), The Snug (Atherton), The Hairy Dog (Derby), Sunbird (Darwen), and the Palladium (Bideford) are located in England. Scotland’s The Glad Cafe (Glasgow), the Bunkhouse (Swansea), and Le Pub (Newport) in Wales round out the nine.
Rory Haye, venue manager of The Glad Cafe in Glasgow, shared this with NME:
“It’s extremely exciting, the prospect of having a landlord that is totally invested in what we do, rather than just looking to get their rent paid and really not having any particular understanding or interest in what the nature of the business is. The Music Venue Properties pledge to the venues that they will ultimately not be raising rents and that rents are going to be capped is game-changing because that absolutely is one of the biggest pressures on a business like ours.”
The first community share offer launched and is live today (May 23). To find out more, visit musicvenueproperties.com.