The success of the live music industry depends on grassroots venues

Glen Rowe,  20 March 2018

Glen Rowe, Managing Director of the Backstage Academy and winner of the Creative & Cultural Music Skills Award 2016, writes about the need for a revival of local music venues across the country. Without it, the industry may fail to continue the success it enjoys today.

In the run-up to our 2018 National Conference, we are running a series of think-pieces by sector leaders about key issues affecting our creative industries and the future of the workforce. 

The live music industry is booming. In 2016 it was worth £1bn to the UK economy and it continues to grow. There are fantastic career opportunities for those who want to join us.

Yet the future of this industry is in jeopardy. Why? Because the UK’s grass roots music venues are disappearing at an alarming rate.

UK’s grass roots music venues are disappearing at an alarming rate.

Young technicians such as sound engineers, lighting techs and stage managers need these places to hone their skills. Bands and artists need cost effective places where they can refine their music, sharpen their performance and develop their audience.

Where would Coldplay be without the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town, where would Muse be without The Cavern in Exeter?

Independent music venues are vital

Independent venues are hugely important in the development of the young talent and crew of the future.

This is why I’m committed to the development of the next generation of bands and technicians. I’m planning to open five not-for-profit venues across the country through my charity the Neko Trust.

With venues in Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Birmingham and Leeds this will provide a circuit for up and coming bands to tour around, and an environment for young crew to master their skills.

The future of the music industry depends on giving young talent the opportunity to grow. 

The venues will also give bands and crew the chance to meet, get to know each other and form long-lasting relationships.

The future of the music industry depends on giving young talent the opportunity to grow. Without grass roots venues, in 20 years’ time there will be no bands to fill stadiums.

 We will be unable to maintain the contribution our industry supplies to the UK economy and our reputation of producing world-class artists and technicians could be lost.


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