The British government has promised £2.25 million (roughly $2,622,609) to help prevent independent music venues from closing forever as the country slowly begins to reintroduce live events to its struggling economy, NME reports. The money will be pulled from the £1.57 billion being funded by Her Majesty’s government to protect Britain’s arts and cultural industries after what was a dismal spring and early summer due to COVID-19.
The report shared on Saturday confirms Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will help allocate the £2.25 million of emergency funding to benefit up to 150 grassroots venues across the U.K. as administered by Arts Council England (ACE). Each venue as identified by the Music Venue Trust will receive grants of up to £80,000 ($102,332) to help cover essential costs such as rent, utilities, and maintenance contracts over the next few months. More details on how venues and live events organizations can apply to the £1.57 billion stimulus package will be released in the coming days.
“Without our grassroots music venues, we wouldn’t have The Beatles, Adele, or Elton John. Nearly all of our globally successful music stars started out at UK clubs and live music venues – and we must make sure those organizations weather the COVID storm,” Dowden mentioned with the emergency funding announcement. “The first £2.25 million of our unprecedented cultural rescue package is targeted at their survival. We’re working to deliver the rest of the £1.57 billion emergency package as quickly as possible so that we can protect and preserve our precious culture, arts, and heritage for future generations.”
The announcement comes just a few weeks after the U.K. government gave the thumbs up for concert promoters and live events organizers to return to throwing outdoor concerts and performing arts events following months of closures and cancelations. This marks the first part of the country’s five-stage roadmap as planned by government officials which also clarifies that a number of smaller indoor “test events” are planned to eventually take place in hopes of gauging the wider reopening of venues.
Meanwhile in America, independent and major concert promoters and music venues have been left to fend for themselves, as an estimated 90% of venues are projected to close forever in some cities if they aren’t reopened for regular business or receive financial aid from the federal government by this fall. Some good news finally did arrive earlier this week as United States Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) introduced a new federal relief bill dubbed, the “Save Our Stages Act,” that aims to assist struggling music and entertainment venues across the country.
Earlier this year, 800+ independent venues across the U.S. banded together to form the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), which has attempted to secure financial aid with approval from Congress to preserve the dying ecosystem of independent venues and promoters.