Earlier this year, the UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) launched a campaign to raise £3.5m to buy the freehold of venue properties, with shares sold to fans and ‘ethical investors’. Now it has one of the biggest names in British music supporting the initiative: Ed Sheeran.
“Small, independent venues are so, so important to the music community, and I’ve played some of my favourite gigs of my career in these rooms,” said Sheeran in a statement. “We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come.”
Sheeran’s backing came as the MVT extended the deadline for the campaign’s initial fundraising phase to 31 December. There’s some not-quite-so-positive news behind that: the initiative has quite a way to go to hit its £3.5m target. So far it has £355k of pledges on the initiative’s Crowdfunder page, and £339k from its separate page on investment platform Ethex.
The Trust will be hoping Sheeran’s backing gives the campaign a shot in the arm and drums up more investors, as it’s hoping to buy its first nine venues for a pilot project by the end of this year.