The Music Venue Trust announced that 45 rising stars of the music scene had signed up to financially and actively support small venues when they achieve arena-level success.

The British organization has made headway since it began in 2019 in an environment where, it reports, two local venues either abandon live music or close for good every week.

While the trust recently purchased two revered English clubs to save them from closure, it’s also pursuing a £1 levy on all tickets sold at arena level and above, to be invested back into the grassroots scene. While it admits progress has been slow, it’s gaining support at national government level, and could deliver £20m a year to the lowest rungs of the U.K. music industry.

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This week the MVT revealed The Artist Pledge, along with the names of the dozens of musicians who’ve acted as founding supporters. “The U.K. grassroots circuit is renowned around the world,” a statement read.

“The Beatles at The Cavern. Jimi Hendrix at the Troubadour. Siouxsie and the Banshees at the 100 Club. Kate Bush at the Rose of Lee. Duran Duran at the Rumrunner. Oasis at King Tuts. Adele at the 12 Bar. Ed Sheeran at Norwich Arts Centre. 1975 at Night & Day. Our grassroots music ecosystem has kickstarted the careers of thousands of artists.”

The statement added that 35 percent of all small venues in the U.K. closed between 2008 and 2015, and that the financial turmoil of recent years meant another 16 percent had been lost since 2023. Meanwhile, “the commercial live music industry, at arena, major festival and stadium level, is enjoying its most successful year ever – selling more than 1 million tickets, to a value of over £100 million, in just one week, in London alone.”

Rising Stars Should ‘Demand Change’ When They’re Big Enough

Introducing the Artist Pledge, the MVT Toni Coe-Brooker said: “We are asking artists today to stand with all of us in the grassroots sector as a show of solidarity. We are asking for a commitment that, when you reach a point in your career when you can insist on change, you will demand that change.

“We want you to be clear, now, at this stage in your career that when you reach the arena and stadium level, you will expect everyone working for and with you – your manager, agent, promoter, the venue itself – to find a way to send financial support back down the pipeline.”

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Gallery Credit: Allison Rapp

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