Ed Sheeran backs MVT plan to save music pubs

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Thinking out loud: Ed Sheeran recognises the importance of music venues such as pubs (credit: Dan Martensen)
Thinking out loud: Ed Sheeran recognises the importance of music venues such as pubs (credit: Dan Martensen)

Related tags Property Licensing Finance Freehouse Social responsibility

Music star Ed Sheeran is backing a campaign from Music Venue Trust (MVT) to take control of the freeholds of music venues, such as pubs, that put on live music to save them from closure.

‘Own Our Venues’ was launched by MVT in June and is the first step in a long-term campaign to take control of the freeholds of music venue premises and bring them under a protected status of benevolent ownership.

Own Our Venues is built on the community share model that has been successful in saving and protecting local pubs, post offices and sports grounds, and is seeking to raise £3.5m in initial investments to acquire nine venues for a pilot project that will allow the scheme to establish proof of concept.

Further venue freeholds will then be identified and secured as and when they become available. On completion of purchase, the venues will be offered an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance while also guaranteeing long-term security and market resistant rents.

Nine site purchases

MVT aims to complete the purchase of the first nine music venues under this new model by the end of December 2022.

Ed Sheeran, who is long-standing supporter of grassroots music venues, said: “Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind. 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. We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come.”

MVT chief executive and founder Mark Davyd added: “We are blown away by the support already for Own Our Venues. This is campaign that is really resonating with music fans who understand exactly how important it is to keep access to live music in our communities, our towns and cities right across the UK.”

Glad to get star backing

Davyd continued: “With the Own Our Venues project gathering steam, we are incredibly pleased to get Ed’s support for this initiative – he knows this sector incredibly well and understands how important it is.”

MVT ownership co-ordinator Matt Otridge explained the deadline for investors to come on board has been extended to 31 December 2022. He said: “We have had an incredible response to this initiative right across the music industry and the music community, and we can’t wait to announce some very substantial investments from key stakeholders shortly.”

MVT is a registered charity, created in January 2014 to protect, secure and improve the UK live music network by securing the long-term future of iconic grassroots music venues such as Hull Adelphi, Exeter Cavern, Southampton Joiners, The 100 Club, Band on the Wall and Tunbridge Wells Forum.

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