The “Save Our Venues” Initiative, is it too late to save the industry?
By Jordan Onslow
In the COVID era, it is difficult to keep track of all of the businesses and sectors that are struggling and frankly makes for depressing research. The music industry is no different to any other in that aspect, however we tend to think of the rich and famous musicians who have had to cancel their shows or tours and qualify it by knowing they’ll remain comfortable with the amount of revenue they have coming in anyway.
Grassroots venues simply do not have this privilege and they are dying slow and painful deaths. This death is what the Music Venue Trust (MVT) are trying to prevent with this new initiative. The trust represents 670 venues in the UK, 556 of which are labelled “at immediate risk of being permanently shut down”. Of this 556, it includes two local venues, “Creature Sound Swansea” and “Crowley’s Rock Bar”.
The trust has set up a fundraiser for people to donate and have asked musicians to hold their own live streamed events to raise the funds to allow these venues to survive. The trust has aimed for 1.5 million pounds and as of the 19th November with 11 days left in the fundraiser, they have raised over 1.2 million pounds, an incredible amount, but not enough to guarantee the survival of all of the venues.
As for our two local venues at risk, it begins to look dire as each venue the MVT represents has its own fundraising page with the target goal being the amount it would take to remain open. “Creature Sound Swansea” (pictured above) has raised just £870 of their £15,000 target, just over 6% of the total needed to keep them afloat, whilst “Crowley’s Rock Bar” (pictured on the right) has raised £610 of their £7500 target goal, around 8% of what they require.
Creature Sound Swansea is a special venue, full of history and great people, a well hidden secret for many, they are a haven for many struggling musicians, giving them a platform to perform, they are highly regarded in the community for taking in the homeless and providing support. Crowley’s is no different, it is a well regarded rock/metal bar in which the Saturdays are said to be legendary. It is a great shame that both of these great venues are so close to being forced to close.
In early October, the Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF) was announced, to help support venues that were unable to open or were struggling financially. The first round granted over 257 million pounds in funding, but for many venues this just isn’t enough, as there are still rent and bills to pay, which is exactly why this initiative is so important.
Especially with the recent announcement from the Welsh government that there are no plans to reopen the sector until at least the spring, it really seems as though things will only get worse before they get better for these struggling venues without our help. The grassroots music industry has provided so many of us with memories and moments that we will always treasure, now it is our turn to help them secure a future.