Grassroots music venues have welcomed Scottish Government help to limit the financial devastation caused by the coronavirus.
More than £2.2 million has been ring-fenced for the country’s smaller music venues, which are described as vital in supporting and nurturing Scotland’s newest talents and music culture more generally.
The money will go towards helping venues facing ruin from a lack of custom over the last four months as a result of the lockdown.
Venues face further hardship because of restrictions on live music, meaning although pubs and restaurants can open, bands and DJs will be unable to perform for some time yet.
Ross Calder, entertainment manager at Tunnels and Cafe Drummond in Aberdeen, thanked the Music Venue Trust for their campaign to protect smaller and independent venues.
He said: “Tunnels and Cafe Drummond are obviously delighted with the announcement today and really appreciate all the work the Music Venue Trust have done throughout this whole process to help get us to this stage.
“Any sort of assistance at this point to help protect grassroots venues is welcomed and much needed.
“We understand this is short-term funding to stabilise venues and prevent permanent closures of these types of venues.
“We gather that this funding is intended to cover fixed costs which include rent, non-furloughed staff, servicing debts, and utilities etc.
“We understand Ms Hyslop (the culture secretary) intends to provide further help so that we can eventually reopen every venue safely — something everyone can agree is the main aim here.
“We all miss live music and know how important venues like Tunnels and Drummonds are to not only bands, but of course gig-goers too.
“Hopefully today’s announcement will go some way to safeguarding us and similar venues until we can get back to doing what we love.”
Derrick Johnston, owner of Dundee’s Make That A Take records, who form the collective which runs Conroy’s Basement venue and have put on hundreds of gigs in the city over the past decade, said it was too early to say what the government’s action could mean for the independent venues.
He said: “While we obviously welcome any and all moves to support the grassroots music infrastructure throughout the UK and are heartened by the Scottish Government’s pledge of support, it is difficult to make any informed comment based on the minimal information currently available.”
— Music Venue Trust (@musicvenuetrust) June 23, 2020
Beverley Whitrick, strategic director at Music Venue Trust said: “Music Venue Trust is delighted to have agreed this funding with Scottish Government and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues.
“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”
The money comes as part of a £38 million package of support for Scotland’s entrepreneurs.
It will be added to the £10 million promised last week by the government to support the arts and cultural sectors.