The popular music venue The Snug in Atherton is set to be bought by fans as part of a new £3.5 million initiative run by the Music Venue Trust, the UK charity which represents hundreds of grassroots music venues, that sees fans buy shares to purchase the freeholds to ensure their long term future in their community. As one of the only grassroots music venues in the Wigan Borough, MVT recognises them as an important cultural space with bands such as The Lottery Winners, Deja-Vega, Heavy Salad, The Lounge Society and Honeyglaze performing there in the early parts of their career. 

The pilot scheme, named Music Venues Properties, which sees 9 music venues across England, Scotland and Wales was created by Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd in an effort to curb the surging numbers of grassroots music venues facing permanent closure all over the UK. The scheme was launched on Monday May 23rd and has already raised more than £200,000 of the £3.5 million needed to buy the properties of the 9 venues. The aim is that the money raised will allow the venues to be effectively owned by the trust and fans to protect them from rising rent and threats of closure. 

Music Venue Properties (MVP) is a charitable community benefit society that has been set up to support the grassroots music industry. The CCBS will raise money through Community Shares and by purchasing these shares, local fans and ethical investors will allow MVP to buy freeholds, whilst also receiving a three percent APR return on their investment.  

MVT CEO Mark Davyd said the scheme had been planned long before the pandemic, but the pressures felt across the industry as a result of Covid had hastened the need to get the scheme started. He called the scheme the “National Trust of music venues”. 

“This is the most ambitious initiative Music Venue Trust has ever undertaken. 

“The long-term security and prosperity of grassroots music venues depends almost entirely on one thing, ownership. 

“Too many have been at the mercy of some commercial landlords whose motivations revolve primarily around profit. 

“We have lost over a third of our venues in the last 20 years and with over 90 percent having only 18 months left on their tenancies we are at the cliff edge and could see the decimation of our sector if we don’t do something radical about it. 

“The Music Venue Properties scheme will allow ethical investors and music fans to invest in the future of live music while receiving a healthy return on their money.” 

Speaking to The Snug’s Event Manager, Ben Morgan, about this initiative, he said “Having MVT as our landlord will give us the long-term security, we need to continue our vital work. To have a landlord and partner we know has our interests at heart will mean we can push our limits further and explore new ways of bringing much-needed culture to our town” 

He added that knowing MVT would take charge “feels like a lot of weight has been lifted off our shoulders”. 

The Snug got involved with the initiative when their landlord informed them that he was looking to sell the property. Ben stated that this threw up much uncertainty about the future of the venue as “this risk’s it being purchased by people with no interest in the arts and developing the site for residential properties.” 

The nine venues identified are: 

Sunbird, Darwen 

The Ferret, Preston 

The Snug, Atherton 

Le Pub, Newport 

The Glad Café, Glasgow 

The Hairy Dog, Derby 

The Polar Bear, Hull 

The Palladium, Bideford 

Bunkhouse, Swansea 

Further venue freeholds will then be identified and secured as and when they become available, and MVP will continue to raise funds through selling community shares and borrowing against the freeholds purchased. 

Huge names in the music industry have already come forward in support of Music Venue Properties such as Bring Me The Horizon, Frank Turner, Billy Bragg, Enter Shikari, Steve Lamaq, Colin Murray and many more… 

For further information and to get involved, please visit www.musicvenueproperties.com where a full overview of this new initiative can be found. 

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