UK’s first live music census reveals growing pressure on grassroots venues

Rising business rates and noise restrictions named as problems facing small venues in UK’s first live music census
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The UK’s first live music census has revealed that small venues are facing a number of issues that threaten their long-term future. 

One in three small music venues surveyed said they had experienced problems with nearby property developments, which can cause noise complaints from people living nearby. 

In addition, one third of all venue survey respondents said that increased business rates had an extreme, strong or moderate negative impact on their live music events in the past 12 months.

The census was carried out in March 2017 by researchers from the Universities of Edinburgh, Newcastle and Turku in Finland. Surveys were conducted in Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle-Gateshead, Oxford, and Southampton. 

Since the census was conducted, the Government has said it will enshrine the Agent of Change principle in law, that aims to protect music venues from closure following noise complaints from new property developments, an issue that has seen the closure of many venues in recent years.

Lord Clement-Jones, spokesman for the Creative Industries in the House of Lords, commented: “The UK Live Music Census is a very welcome initiative for policymakers as it will provide rich data about local live music activity from those who make it and those who enjoy it. Live music is facing a number of challenges at the moment, from venues closing down to the threat of increased business rates. However, data about the sector has so far been relatively scarce and mostly anecdotal, and so the much needed data collected by the UK Live Music Census will help us protect live music going into the future.”

The UK Live Music Census can be read in full here.

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