Entertainment & Arts

Small music venues in England get £2.2m emergency government funding

Girli at the Deaf Institute in 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Deaf Institute in Manchester, pictured hosting a Girli gig in 2018, was recently saved from closure

Up to 150 small music venues in England will share £2.25m emergency government funding to stop them going to the wall after four months with no gigs.

It is the first slice of a £1.57bn arts relief fund to be allocated and follows warnings that many venues are at risk.

The Music Venues Trust welcomed the funding as "a short-term fix".

Earlier this month, 1,500 artists from Liam Gallagher and Dua Lipa to Sir Paul McCartney signed an open letter calling for support for the live music scene.

If 150 venues are helped, they would receive an average of £15,000 each. Some grants could be bigger, up to £80,000.

The MVT, which represents small venues, said the money was "very welcome and desperately needed as we wait to hear how the recently announced £1.57bn rescue package for the arts will be administered and distributed".

Chief executive Mark Davyd added: "This interim solution will provide a short-term fix for those venues identified as being in crisis but we urgently need information and guidance on when and how venues can access the larger fund, which is so vital to safeguarding their longer term futures."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Idles playing at Gorilla in Manchester in 2018

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said such clubs and venues were where "nearly all of our globally successful music stars started out", and he wanted to "make sure those organisations weather the Covid storm".

"We're working to deliver the rest of the £1.57bn emergency package as quickly as possible, so that we can protect and preserve our precious culture, arts and heritage for future generations," he added.

'Severe risk'

The amount available for grassroots music, worth 1/700th of the total relief package, will go to venues at "severe risk of insolvency" and can be spent on ongoing costs like rent, utilities, maintenance contracts and other bills.

The money will be dished out by Arts Council England, which does not usually fund regular live music venues, "within the next few weeks".

In the past fortnight, beloved Manchester venues Gorilla and The Deaf Institute have been saved from closure, but the companies behind the Welly and the Polar Bear in Hull have gone into administration.

Details of how organisations in other areas of the arts can apply for a slice of the £1.57bn will be revealed "in the coming days", the government said.

Mr Dowden has previously said the fund will protect the nation's cultural "crown jewels" and small venues around the country.

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