Thursday, April 09, 2015

Keeping the flame alive

As someone appalled by the indirectly enforced closure of the Point in Cardiff and the continuing threat to the likes of Manchester's Night & Day Cafe, I read with interest the Music Venue Trust's recent report Understanding Small Music Venues (featuring research conducted by the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance). The title says it all - they're all too often misunderstood, or underestimated in their importance.

The report was preaching to the converted in terms of underlining the value of such venues to performers, gig-goers, communities and grassroots music in general (if you're in any doubt, here's Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd putting it in a nutshell), but the interview section was enlightening in presenting the full range of pressures and difficulties currently faced by venue owners and managers.

The report's not merely descriptive or downbeat, though - it concludes with a range of suggestions as to how things can be taken forwards, including lobbying for reviews of legislation and licensing (especially related to noise regulations), the need for investment from the public sector and for money to trickle down from the upper tiers of the industry, and improvements in the treatment musicians receive.

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