NME Festival blog: Property development negatively affects one third of UK’s small venues


The first ever UK live music census has found that Britain’s small venues are facing significant difficulties due to increased business rates and property development.

Increased business rates had an “extreme, strong or moderate” effect in the last year on 33% of the 200 venues surveyed, and 40% of small venues.

Similarly, difficulties from planning and new property developments affected 33% of small venues, and 29% reported a negative impact from noise complaints.

The findings also revealed that despite their financial difficulties, live music venues bring significant economic value to a regional area.

Gig goers in Glasgow, home of the famous King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, spend an estimated £78.8 million on live music annually, bringing in an estimated 2,450 full time equivalent jobs.

Similarly, the results showed that music fans are now much more likely to spend money on live music than records, with nearly half (47%) of respondents saying they spend more than £20 a month on gigs and festivals, while only a quarter spend the equivalent on recorded music.

The census comes a few days after iconic Bristol venue Bierkeller was forced to shut suddenly due to a building redevelopment.

Last week, Proud Camden in London announced a series of farewell events ahead of the venue’s closure after operating for 17 years. The establishment hosted Ed Sheeran’s first live performance. 

Last month, Billy Bragg, Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason and Labour MP Tom Watson campaigned outside Westminster to keep the UK’s small live music venues open



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