Music Venue Trust announced a new initiative called Music Venue Properties (MVP) in a bid to free grass roots music venues (GMV) from commercial landlords and in this way help secure their long-term futures.
According to Music Venue Trust, 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. 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.
Enter Music Venue Properties (MVP), a Charitable Community Benefit Society (CCBS) that aims to purchase the freehold of GMV properties. Unlike a charity, a CCBS can raise money via Community Shares and this is exactly what’s proposed by MVP. From today, the 23rd of May, music venue goers will be able to invest in their favourite venue, initially limited to 9 pilot spaces, helping to raise funds to allow MVP to buy freeholds, whilst also receiving a 3% APR return on their investment. On completion of purchase MVP will then offer the majority of current operators an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance, while also guaranteeing long term security and market resistant rents.
Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust said, “This is the most ambitious initiative Music Venue Trust has ever undertaken. The long-term security and prosperity of grassroots music venues depends almost entirely on one thing – ownership. Too many have been at the mercy of some commercial landlords whose motivations revolve primarily around profit. We have lost over a third of our venues in the last 20 years and with over 90% having only 18 months left on their tenancies. we are at the cliff edge and could see the decimation of our sector if we don’t do something radical about it. The Music Venue Properties scheme will allow ethical investors and music fans to invest in the future of live music while receiving a healthy return on their money. “
MVP has identified nine venues for a pilot project that will allow the scheme to establish proof of concept. Six venues are in England, one in Scotland and two are in Wales. With an initial target of £3.5m to purchase these venues.
The opportunity to invest in Music Venue Properties is now available on this website
Feature image: BMX Bandits live at The Glad Café, by Harrison Reid