Arts Council England has announced that £1.5m of funding has again been ringfenced within National Lottery Project Grants this year to support the grassroots live music sector, thanks to National Lottery players.
This is the last year that this specific funding stream will be available to those whose main function is to host and/or promote live music events at the grassroots level in venues around England, across all genres of music. The money will help venues bring in a wider range of artists and audiences.
Since National Lottery Project Grants: Supporting Grassroots Live Music launched in 2019, the Arts Council have made 253 awards and invested £4.7m in venues and promoters through this fund. This has supported everything from upgrading equipment and offering free rehearsal spaces and mentoring, to refurbishing bathrooms and staging family friendly gigs.
This money has been especially important throughout the pandemic, allowing venues and promoters to deliver socially distanced and live-streamed performances, connecting artists with their fans at home and providing a lifeline to those who work behind the scenes.
Skills and understanding
This funding has helped the sector develop skills and understanding around how to apply for funding, and the kind of projects we can support.
From April 2023 grassroots music venues and promoters can continue to apply for National Lottery Project Grants, the Arts Council’s open access programme for arts, museums and libraries projects. Thanks to National Lottery investment, the fund supports thousands of individual artists, community and cultural organisations, including grassroots music venues.
Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music, Arts Council England, said: “Live music venues are important and beloved community assets. Venues and promotors play a vital role in developing new talent and providing a space for audiences to develop a passion for music, discover their new favourite artists and support the development of local talent wherever they are in the country.
“I’m thrilled that we have been able to support so many venues and promotors through this ring-fenced fund and that we are able to invest another £1.5m this year. I hope that the success of this ring-fenced budget has given the sector the skills and confidence to continue its relationship with the Arts Council beyond March 2023 and we look forward to continuing to work with the sector for many years to come.”
Phil Gibby, Area Director, Arts Council England, South West, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer further support for the grassroots live music sector through our National Lottery Project Grants funding programme. As the beating heart of the South West’s thriving music scene, the sector plays a crucial role in nurturing the talent pipeline, and this funding will provide more opportunities for audiences to enjoy live music in venues across the region. The grassroots live music sector continues to show great resilience during what has been a hugely challenging time, and we look forward to seeing the calendar of live events and performances this fund will facilitate.”
Mark Davyd, CEO, Music Venue Trust said: “We warmly welcome the announcement of the extension of the Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund, which many grassroots music venues see as a vital source of funding for developing their work, particularly as they face the challenges of recovering from the pandemic and subsequent shortfall in ticket sales and walk-up audience. This funding could make a huge difference in supporting the infrastructure that develops the next wave of artists in the UK.”
André Dack, Director, Ramsgate Music Hall said: “Ramsgate Music Hall has been fortunate enough to receive two grants from Arts Council England’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music fund. They first enabled us to make essential repairs to the venue’s sewage system, in addition to improving the once-drab toilet facilities.
“The second grant has allowed us to stretch our creative minds by adding a new service to the venue, in the form of live-streaming and recording gigs. This is something we’re currently in the process of completing, and we cannot wait to show folks how it’s shaping up. Suffice to say, Arts Council England have shown unbelievable support to Ramsgate Music Hall, and we are incredibly grateful.”
Laila Mckenzie, Executive Director of Parallel Dimensions, Bristol, said: “Supporting Grassroots Live Music enabled us to deliver Project Phoenix which came to life as a response to ensuring marginalised groups still had the chance to showcase their artistic talent during and post pandemic.
“The fund has helped us continue work, train and give others the chance to work in the grassroots music sector. The announcement of extension to the funding is much welcomed and I would urge people to put a well thought out and planned project together and apply for this funding.”
Claire Turner, General Manager of Matt and Phred’s, Manchester said: “With the help of Arts Council England’s Supporting Grassroots Live Music Fund, we have been able to showcase the fantastic musicians we work with beyond the four walls of Matt & Phred’s through an online channel for all things independent music.
“This new year of funding will be a lifeline for grassroots venues, and we are delighted to have made use of this support in the development of a project which is also central to Arts Council England’s main principles.”
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