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Music Venue Trust launches ‘The Artist Pledge’ for arena acts to give back to grassroots

Those to sign up to the scheme at the outset include Enter Shikari and Frank Turner.

By Will Richards

Enter Shikari have been vocal supporters of independent music venues (Photo by Katja Ogrin/Redferns)

The Music Venue Trust have launched a new scheme called ‘The Artist Pledge’, which aims to encourage arena-level acts to give back to the grassroots.

The new pledge, signed at the outset by 45 artists including Enter Shikari and Frank Turner, asks arena-level acts to give small amounts of to the grassroots scene when they reach a certain level of success.

Enter Shikari already made headlines last year when they pledged to give £1 of every ticket sale on their UK tour to the Music Venue Trust.

The MVT’s 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.”

Last week, The Ferret in Preston is the second grassroots music venue to secure its future as part of the Music Venue Trust’s ‘Own Our Venues’ scheme.

The venue, which has previously hosted gigs from the likes of Royal Blood, Ed Sheeran and IDLES, has secured its future after being acquired by Music Venue Properties (MVP). It comes after the scheme oversaw the successful purchase of The Snug in Atherton, Greater Manchester, last year.

Launched last year, the #ownourvenues scheme strives to purchase the freeholds of grassroots venues. The investment project will allow music fans to buy in at a return of 3% APR, with the pooled cash going towards buying the venues outright in a bid to avoid being beholden to third party landlords that sometimes threaten the future of venues.

Gary Roden, the former boss of beleagurered new Manchester arena Co-Op Live, who stepped down from his role before the venue opened, was criticised for comments he made about grassroots venues, criticising the planned £1 ticket levy on arena gigs to help support struggling small venues.