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Own Our Venues initiative to move onto venue-buying phase, MVT confirms

By | Published on Monday 3 April 2023

The UK’s Music Venue Trust announced on Friday that the board of Music Venue Properties – the entity set up as part of its Own Our Venues initiative – has voted to “move ahead with modelling the purchase of the first set of grassroots music venues”.

MVT launched the Own Our Venues scheme last year, setting up MVP as a charitable community benefit society and seeking to raise money via that entity to buy the freeholds of buildings currently used by grassroots venues around the UK.

By having venues based in buildings owned by a society of that kind, MVT said at the time, the people and companies running those venues would benefit from lower rents and more long-term security, knowing that they had a landlord that existed to support live music, rather than to simply maximise its profits.

MVT said in a statement on Friday: “We are delighted to let you know that the Music Venue Properties board met today to consider the outcome of the Own Our Venues campaign and voted unanimously to move ahead with modelling the purchase of the first set of grassroots music venues”.

“This means that the Own Our Venues campaign has successfully concluded with the creation of a funded and functioning charitable community benefit society”, it went on.

“This community owned society will now forge ahead to deliver one of the primary long-term goals of MVT; radical change to the ownership of the UK’s grassroots circuit to deliver stable, supported and ethically managed properties that provide long term security for Britain’s fantastic venue operators”.

As of Thursday, the Own Our Venues campaign had raised £2,318,210 from 1261 individual investors. Although less than the scheme’s original target, MVT said: “In the face of extraordinary times for the economy and the political life of the nation, this is a remarkable achievement and demonstrates once again that the music community believes passionately in the importance of these vital spaces for artists and audiences”.

Commenting on that announcement, MVT CEO Mark Davyd said: “MVT has a motto: ‘People who say it cannot be done should get out of the way of the people doing it’. I am immensely proud of my team for once again proving that the grassroots community are the people who can get it done”.

“I would especially like to single out Matt Otridge, who has steered this project through incredibly turbulent times to a fantastic conclusion”, he added. “Without Matt’s dedicated work across the last ten months this simply would not have been possible”.

Artist and MVP board member Rhoda Dhakar added: “Today I’m so happy because we’re at the beginning of a beautiful partnership between all of you who love seeing live music in grassroots venues and all of us who play in and run those venues”.

“MVP has raised the money to make a start on a new ownership model creating permanent homes for live music, no longer relying on the temporary benevolence of commercial landlords”, she went on. “It’s a model we want to roll out across the country, stabilising this sector in perpetuity! Let’s go!”

MVP says it will now write to all of its investors before 17 Apr with a “clear modelled plan” to start the purchase of venue properties. It then aims to acquire its first venues in the next few months.