The Community Spirit Surrounding Independent Music Venues
Together we are the music community. All of us care for and love our Independent Music Venues. It is our spirit and dedication that will keep the heart of music beating.
Since I’ve started my blog I have felt more involved in the warm, friendly community of our music scene than ever before, and it has truly overwhelmed me how kind and encouraging everyone has been towards my writing. I have been so welcomed into such a friendly and supportive network, that makes up our music community. Everyone involved in the music scene has an ultimate shared love, of helping talented emerging artists to grow, but with this exists a fantastic sense of belonging, passion for music and care in the way music is manifested, that is far more intricate than I ever realised before. In my local area, names in the industry are all so encouraging of one another, it is truly beautiful to behold. However you are involved within the music scene; whether you are a fan, someone who works within it, or are part of a band, then you must see that this lovely community are so important. Hence why we must protect our Independent Venues at all costs.
Independent Venues provide spaces for bands to perform, and for music to flourish. They hold moments, they hold memories, and are such brilliantly vibrant places to visit. Despite all being home to the same purpose, none are carbon copies of each other. Each has their own quirky design, décor and a valid place within the community. Independent Venues have a charm and spark about them, which I personally think you’d struggle to find anywhere else. They are run by a team of hardworking individuals, that are supported by equally as hardworking organisations, along with musicians.
Now, more then ever, we need to support our Independent Music Venues. Many of them have been in danger of closure over the last decade, and a lot have unfortunately had no choice but to close in recent years. Crippling business rates and economic struggles have made maintaining these venues a lot of work, and this is a terrible shame as they are such a fundamental, and loved part of our music scene. Thankfully for those that remain today, there has been some marvellous news arriving from the UK government recently. A 50% reduction in the business rates of small and medium sized music venues, releases a staggering £1.7 million back in to the live music sector. This is a huge, rejoicing moment for these venues, that have been provided with a helping hand needed to survive financially. This announcement came from the Music Venue Trust. An organisation established since 2014, working with immense drive to support these music venues and fight for their survival.
On a local scale, across the UK in each town or city, there have been outpourings of care and generosity in helping our much loved venues to remain in business throughout difficult times. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, before the announcement was made, certain situations involving closure were inevitable. In the last year alone, Cardiff has sadly lost both Gwdihw and 10 Feet Tall’s Undertone, which has broken the hearts of our Capital. We’re an adoring city of music with a thriving scene, yet there have still been venue closures. Independent Music Venues are primarily businesses of course, but they are also so much more than that. These venues are workplaces to an array of staff, a stage for incredible rising musicians, and a place to enjoy and make memories for music fans.
Despite the continuing fight against closure, there is one important word to hold on to and remember, this a fight. It’s an ongoing one and it may not be easy at times, but it is one we strongly hope and believe we can win. There has already been great support with government funding. It is worth remembering though, that by doing something as simple as buying tickets, visiting these venues and showing your love for music, you are helping to support these venues and keep them alive too. A small act can make all the difference.
Many organisations host brilliant schemes which in turn support venues also, by enabling emerging musicians to begin touring and performing within them. In Wales there are currently some wonderful funding schemes for musicians available from companies such as Horizons Cymru. An example of this is their Launchpad. This scheme is currently open to bands and artists based in Wales, who are starting their musical journey. Up to £2,000 can be offered to each successful applicant, funding activities that will help them reach their musical aspirations. If you are interested, or know someone who is, then applications will need to be emailed to Horizons by February 9th. Further details can be found on their website which I will link below. By supporting emerging artists, these companies harbour the existing potential of music venues, but also help them to grow.
Caring individuals and organisations in each locality keep their music community knitted together. These wonderfully kind and passionate people provide the heart and drive behind our venues, true champions who help local venues to thrive. Our music community is made up of many different shapes and sizes, all of whom work equally as hard to protect and nourish different areas of the music scene. These people help to create a music hub, which allows music venues to thrive, despite economical challenges. Independent Music Venues will never stand alone. Take for example Cardiff’s Womanby Street, home to a number of music venues and a variety of similar bars and supportive neighbouring businesses. The music scene there is second to none, it’s always lively, quirky and vibrant, providing a wonderful atmosphere of hope, that music is certainly set to remain.
Venue owners and staff, promoters and event organisers, journalists and bloggers, bands and musicians, fans and so many more. Together we are the music community. All of us care for and love our Independent Music Venues. It is our spirit and dedication that will keep the heart of music beating.
The final post in my series, Part 3, will be shared on Friday. Thank you all so much for reading.
Read Part 1 on Why I Love Independent Venues here: https://beckyandthebands.home.blog/2020/02/03/independent-venues-the-heart-of-music-part-1/