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Ed Sheeran pledges support for MVT’s ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative

“We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues“

By Tom Skinner

Ed Sheeran performing live
Ed Sheeran (pic credit: MTV YouTube)

Ed Sheeran has pledged his support for the Music Venue Trust‘s ‘Own Our Venues’ initiative.

The MVT launched ‘Own Our Venues’ in June as 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.

Per a statement, the concept of the initiative is built around the Community Share model that has been successful in saving and protecting local pubs, post offices and sports grounds, and is hoping to raise £3.5million in initial investments to acquire nine venues by the end of 2022.

Those venues are participating in a pilot project that will allow the scheme to establish proof of concept. Additional venue freeholds will then be identified and secured as and when they become available.

Upon completion of purchase, the venues will be offered an immediate rent reduction as well as help with building repairs and insurance. In addition, the spaces will be guaranteed long-term security and resistant rents.

Sheeran, who is a longtime supporter of grassroots 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.”

Mark Davyd, CEO and founder of MVT, 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.

“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.“

Matt Otridge, Ownership Coordinator for MVT, explained: “We have extended the deadline for investors to come on board through until 31 December 2022 to give everyone a chance to get behind this project and make it a reality.

“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.”

Since its launch, hundreds of individuals and companies have pledged their support either through direct investment in the project via a new investment platform with Ethex, or through the official ‘Own Our Venues’ Crowdfunder page.

As a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis, the Music Venue Trust has been required to “re-focus” its resources in “other areas” of late. In turn, the decision has been made to extend the initial fundraising phase of the ‘Own Our Venues’ campaign until December 31.

The MVT raised over £4.1million for their #SaveOurVenues campaign as independent music establishments faced financial ruin during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In other news, Ed Sheeran recently paid fresh tribute to his late friend Jamal Edwards, saying that he owes his career to the music entrepreneur.