British organisation the Music Venue Trust has been working hard to help grassroots music venues (GMVs in its lingo) survive the Covid-19 pandemic through fundraising and relief applications.
Now it’s launching an ambitious next stage in its activities: a spin-off called Music Venue Properties that will sell shares to fans and ‘ethical investors’, and use that money to buy the freehold of venue properties. This is all about securing those venues’ future, rather than leaving them at risk of closure by their landlords.
“Over 35% of GMVs have closed in the last 20 years and 93% of them are tenants with the typical operator only having 18 months left on their tenancy,” noted the Trust in its announcement. “Since the start of the Covid crisis the sector has acquired over £90m of new debt, yet 67% of Culture Recovery Fund grant aid was paid directly to landlords.”
Nine venues across the UK have been chosen for a pilot, with a target fundraise of £3.5m to buy those freeholds before the end of this year.
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