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Campaign to boost grassroots music in London

20th October 2015

A campaign to safeguard the future of grassroots music in London is aiming to prevent further loss of performance spaces, the number of which has fallen from 136 in 2007 to just 88 today. These venues provide a seed-bed for a music industry worth £66bn a year to the UK, yet iconic names including the Marquee Club, the Astoria and Madame Jojo’s have disappeared over the past few years, with many other important venues beyond central London also closing down.

The Rescue Plan’ produced by the Mayor’s Music Venues Taskforce identifies a range of factors responsible for venues closing, including rising rents, licensing restrictions, noise complaints by residents, landlords selling venues to turn into housing, and the lack of an oversight body to represent the industry.

New proposals will put the onus on property developers to mitigate potential conflicts between new developments and long-standing live venues. A night-time economy champion will be appointed to promote the merits of the sector and build positive relationships between businesses, residents, local authorities, transport, police and emergency services. The work of the Taskforce will be taken over by a London Music Development Board, comprising representatives from London’s music industry, venues, licensing authorities, police, planning departments, transport authorities and cultural sector funders, who will draw up an action plan for implementing the proposals. The Mayor’s office is also publishing a Culture and Planning Guide, giving “jargon-free advice for the music and culture sectors on how planning policy can protect music and cultural venues”.

Read more on the Arts Professional website.

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