Opinion: Music venues need and deserve government support

The Lexington, like other music venues, is shut.

The Lexington, like other music venues, is shut. - Credit: Archant

“Without our Grassroots Music Venues, there would be no Beatles. No Stones, no Led Zeppelin, no Duran Duran, no Sade, no Oasis, no Skunk Anansie, no Adele, no Ed Sheeran, no Dua Lipa.”

So says an open letter to the government from the Music Venue Trust, signed by more than 500 venues, calling for an immediate £50m financial support package and VAT reduction on future ticket sales.

Now, personally, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones are undeniable; Led Zep I never really got; Oasis and Adele have certainly had great moments; Duran Duran, Skunk Anansie and Sheeran I can take or leave; and (probably because of my age) I’m only vaguely aware of Dua Lipa - but that’s hardly the point.

Venues are not only part of the economy but an important part of our culture.

Times were already tough for the nightlife industry and with lockdown lifting we can only hope that our pubs, cafes and restaurants survive.

But the end is not yet in sight for music venues and they are asking for government support until they can reopen safely.

Throughout my 20s I used to play in bands and I have treasured memories of playing upstairs at The Garage in Highbury, and at Caernarvon Castle, which no longer exists but was in Chalk Farm Road.

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I miss it, but more than that I miss going to gigs - messy late nights at The Lexington, seeing friends play at the Bull and Gate, random unnamed punk bands in a sweaty Dublin Castle or The Old Blue Last.

Music can be an art form for everyone. That’s what punk and rap showed.

Technology has since made music more accessible for many, but without somewhere to play live, so much is lost.

Music venues need our backing.

Visit musicvenuetrust.com