Music venues call for more help from council

Music venues have asked for more help from the council in supporting the city’s multimillion-pound industry.

Grassroots Brighton and Hove is a new organisation made up of representatives of the city’s smaller and mid-sized music venues set up to promote the music scene as a united front.

It is planning a festival showcasing Brighton and Hove bands and artists and also wants support to find funding to keep the city’s venues sustainable.

Its spokesman Mark Stack urged councillors at last night’s full council meeting (Thursday 28 March) to get behind Grassroots and the city’s £112 million music industry.

Mr Stack said that smaller councils were giving support and gave the example of Eastbourne Borough Council which helped fund a gig.

He said: “With youth services being cut this is a cost-effective way of creating safe spaces for young people.

“They are upping their game. We are not getting anything from you. We want to work with you and bring everyone together.”

Mr Stack said that business rates were an issue, with venues wanting some rate relief but receiving nothing from Brighton and Hove City Council.

He told councillors, at Brighton Town Hall, that for every £10 that was spent on a gig ticket, £17 was spent in the local economy and even more if people stayed over.

Mr Stack also repeated calls made by the city’s Live Music Round Table, made up of people within the music scene, council representatives and Sussex Police, for music industry representatives to join the council’s arts and culture committees.

Arts and culture are currently the remit of the council’s Tourism, Development and Culture Committee, made up solely of city councillors.

Labour councillor Alan Robins, who chairs the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee, said that he was pleased to see venues coming together.

He said that the council was well aware of the income that live music brought to the city.

He suggested that Grassroots bring their ideas to the next round table in June, which could look at how councils are funding gigs themselves.

A report for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport released in early March said that the country had lost a third of its music venues from 2007 to 2015.

Brighton and Hove has lost small venues such as the Freebutt and the Gloucester – also known as the Barfly – during this period.

Mr Stack was invited to come along to the next meeting of the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee on Thursday 20 June when his deputation is due to be be discussed.

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