Glasto: Please support grassroots venues #OwnOurVenues campaign

Glasto: Please support grassroots venues #OwnOurVenues campaign

13 June 2022
Signatures: 20Next Goal: 25
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Why this petition matters

Started by Mark Stack

This is not a negative petition. It has been written so that if enough people sign it then perhaps Michael and Emily Eavis of Glastonbury Festival will read it too.


Dear Michael & Emily,

As dairy farmers you understand the importance of protecting the roots of the grass that your cows eat. That’s why you have a festival fallow year every fourth year, so those grass roots can remain strong, remain vital.
What I’m asking of you now is to consider helping protect the vital grassroots of the other industry you are involved in; the grassroots music scene.

You have been a fantastic supporter of organisations such as Greenpeace and Oxfam in the past. Could you please consider helping your musical roots and add the Music Venue Trust’s #OwnOurVenues as a campaign charity you support?

93% of grassroots venues are tenants and the average operator has just 18 months left on their tenancy. There is a growing trend for landlord owners not to renew those leases and just sell the building to the highest bidder. This is despite the venue being there, and enjoyed, for decades.

We have already lost 35% of our grassroots venues in the past 20 years and this new trend of not renewing leases could devastate the whole grassroots scene.

As a solution, Music Venue Trust have created charitable community benefit society ‘Music Venues Properties’ which is akin to a National Trust for Grassroots Music Venues (GMVs). 
By buying the freeholds and renting them back out to operators they can reduce rents; invest in the properties to make them greener, more accessible to disability groups and make contributions to insurance and repairs. It will add security to venue operators, giving them a confidence to invest into the buildings themselves.

By purchasing shares, music fans and ethical investors will help raise funds to buy those freeholds (and get 3% APR on their investment too). Larger organisations can also donate to Music Venue Properties to help buy those freeholds.

The grassroots music scene is aptly named. Without those roots, UK music will age, wither and die. Part of what makes Glasto so special, so world-renowned special, is the myriad of side-stages from which your new future headliners will emerge. Yet to get to play those side-stages the musicians have been helped and nurtured in our grassroots music venues. Indeed, the majority of the UK musicians that are seen in your side stages play in our grassroots venues day in day out.

Please help. Please get involved.

Maybe you can have visible #OwnOurVenues banners across the site this year.
Maybe you can have telephone numbers on banners which festival goers and the TV audience can make a donation to.
Maybe show a video between sets explaining how the community shares work and how people can become co-owners of the nation’s venues. I’m sure MVT would create one for you.
Maybe you could add a fiver onto next year’s tickets to be given to the fund.

Maybe, you could just make an announcement that Glastonbury Festival supports the #OwnOurVenues campaign.

Such a gesture by Glastonbury Festival would make headlines and perhaps prick the conscience of music’s biggest stars and the UK music industry in general. 
Pioneering action by Glastonbury could massively boost that investment momentum just by publicly talking about it. You could achieve in days what otherwise could take weeks or months. Other festivals will follow your lead and acknowledge the situation, spreading the word to their audiences – leading to thousands of music lovers investing in the grassroots music venues that are their #happyplaces. It would become part of Glastonbury’s cultural legacy – you could be Heroes forever and ever!

Grassroots Music Venues are unique businesses in that they are the whole industry’s research and development department. They nurture and develop new artists but don’t reap the financial rewards for their passion. When those artists become successful, they move on to bigger venues, festivals and stadiums. This is why I believe so resolutely in the #OwnOurVenues campaign.

Music is, and has always been, a bookmarking soundtrack to my life. I am not special in that; it is the same for all of us. 
New music is an aural autobiography. It’s a persistent memoir to our good times, our sad times and the milestones in our lives. 
To paraphrase Bill Shankly: new music is not only the narrator of our lives and deaths; it is much, much more important than that. We need to #OwnOurVenues.

One final thing. Please. In the Glastonbury fallow year when you keep your farm sustainable skipping a year, would you please reach out to our independent grassroots venues. By doing something together in the absent Glasto week, you could help keep the nation’s grassroots music sustainable too.

Thank you for reading.

Mark Stack
An avid grassroots gig goer.

Links: : if you would like to invest and become a co-owner of the UK’s Grassroots Venues + additional info

Music Venue Trust:
Facebook, Insta & twitter: @Musicvenuetrust

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Signatures: 20Next Goal: 25
Support now