Brighton and Hove’s music venues call for council support

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

Monday, 1st April 2019, 12:14 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th April 2019, 3:57 pm
Prince Albert in Trafalgar Street hosts smaller gigs

Brighton and Hove Grassroots 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 (March 28) to get behind Grassroots and the city’s £112 million music industry.

Mr Stack said smaller councils are 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.”

Business rates were raised as a key issue as venues want some rate relief but have nothing.

Councillors heard for every £10 spent on a gig ticket, £17 is spent in the local economy, which can be even more if people stay over.

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

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

Councillor Alan Robins replied to say he was pleased to see venues coming together and the council is well aware of the income live music brings to the city.

He suggested 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 of Culture, Media and Sport released in early March said the country lost a third of its music venues between 2007 and 2015.

Brighton and Hove has lost small venues including the Freebutt and the  Barfly/Gloucester during this period.

Mr Stack was invited to come along when his deputation would be discussed at the Tourism, Development and Culture Committee on June 20.