Taking place under Ministry of Sound’s infamous disco ball – Venues Day is a forum to discuss the continued challenges for the grassroots venues sector, to share news of advances being made and to connect venues with people and organisations keen to help. TicketWeb set up shop ready to give demos of Backline – TicketWeb’s very own ticketing platform designed in collaboration with MVT, specifically with grassroots venues in mind.
MVT kicked off proceedings with the worrying statistic that between 2007 and 2015, 35% of venues in the UK have closed down. Michael Dugher, CEO of UK Music, shared his plans for Agent of Change to become law, and BBC 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq took to the stage and gave an impassioned address to the audience on the importance of grassroots venues to the nurturing of major talent (“venues are about community,” he finished).
The first panel of the day looked at how venues can use data to further their cause and make smart business decisions. UK Music cited Ticketmaster’s own State of Play: Grime Report, launched last week, as an important example of how data is one of the best tools for the live music industry.
Next up, it was time to talk all things money, looking at the financial struggles grassroots venues face. “Increasingly, live music is becoming the thing you do against your accountants advice,” shared MVT’s Mark Davyd.
One of the least attended, but arguably most important sessions of the day, was Safety Matters chaired by the editor of Louder Than War. Tracey Wise, the founder of Safe Gigs For Women, opened the panel by saying “it’s about focusing people’s minds on what is and isn’t acceptable”. Frank Turner agreed, saying “music venues should be a welcoming and safe place for everyone to come together”. The notion of a behavioural “code of a conduct” being the norm at all venues was an idea all panellists were in favour of. The Manchester bombings and Bataclan attack were both cited at reasons why venues, small or otherwise, should be making the time to look into their own security and what they would do in the event of an emergency.
Since Venues Day was launched in 2014, the rate of venue closure has started to slow down, with some new venues being able to start up. While it’s clear there’s still a lot to be done, it’s good to see we’re heading in the right direction. TicketWeb is very proud to support the Music Venues Trust in all that they do, and proud to be able to offer a ticketing platform designed to specifically empower small independent venues and promoters.
If you have any questions or would like more information about Backline, contact the TicketWeb team here.
In London, we joined the fight on 4 February to raise money and awareness on World Cancer Day.