2023 was the worst year for UK venue closures, says Music Venues Trust

125 venues were closed, with 4,000 jobs lost, 14,500 events cancelled and 193,230 gigs scrapped as a result.

Microphone on stage at a small music venue

Credit: Getty / Semen Salivanchuk

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2023 was the worst year for music venue closures in the UK, according to Music Venues Trust.

MVT, a charity set up in 2014 to “protect, secure and improve” grassroots music venues, revealed in a recent Instagram post that 125 venues were closed in the UK within 12 months.

As a result of this, a shocking 4,000 jobs were cut and 14,500 events were no longer able to run without venues to host them in. According to its report, 193,230 gigs for musicians were also lost as a result of the closures and 80 venues are now in crisis services.

The figures of course reflect a bleak year for UK music venues. At the start of December, historic 220-capacity Bath-based venue Moles was forced to shut its doors after nearly 50 years of operation. This venue was an early gig location for bands such as Oasis, The Cure, Blur and Everything But The Girl.

Upon its closure, the venue wrote on social media: “We’ve weathered many things over the years, including a fire and a pandemic in the last 10 years alone, but this cost of living crisis has crippled the grassroots music sector. Although that is not the only problem, it has accentuated it. Huge rent rates, along with massively increased costs on everything from utilities to stock, are all factors.”

As part of a month-long initiative based around Music Venue Day, Ticketmaster added an option to donate to Music Venues Trust to its checkout sections throughout October last year. Upon the launch of the feature, MVT’s CEO Mark Davyd stated a need for “radical intervention”.

Davyd told IQ Mag, “This upsell provides a practical method for fans to support grassroots music venues, and we are incredibly grateful to the Ticketmaster team for putting it in place.

“Ticketmaster matching all fan donations is a powerful message for the whole industry about the support our sector needs and the will of the music community to provide it.”

“We believe that live music fans understand exactly how vital these venues are to the future of our whole music ecosystem and how much financial difficulty they are currently facing,” he adds.

“127 grassroots music venues have closed in the last 12 months – more than one is permanently closing every week. We need a radical intervention by everyone: the government, the music industry, artists and fans, to stop these closures and turn this around.”

Read more at Music Venues Trust.

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