Experts propose £1 ticket levy for arena and stadium gigs to support grassroots music


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Music industry experts have proposed a £1 ticket levy for music events at arenas and stadiums to generate a fund to support grassroots music.

A panel of representatives from Live Music Exchange (LIVE), Music Venue Trust and National Arenas Association gathered in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to discuss grassroots music venues this week (March 26).

The meeting addressed the pressure that grassroots are under amid rising costs and highlighted that last year the UK lost 125 music venues, prompting a discussion on the impact this loss would have on the UK’s music industry.

Alongside a significant erosion of jobs and community, Mark Davyd, Chief Executive of the Music Venue Trust, stressed that without grassroots venues there’s no “starter motor” for the entire music industry.

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Stressing the importance of risk-taking for developing a healthy music industry, Davyd said: “We have an almost unique organic petri dish of experimentation, research and development that happens in our communities, almost by accident”.

The potential solution presented by Davyd is that a £1 levy be applied to arena and stadium ticket sales. The levy said to be inspired by the “French 3%” model, would generate a centralised fund, which artists, promoters and venues can apply for to support this crucial “risk-taking”.

Representing the perspective of the arenas, John Drury of the National Arenas Association, said that the £1 levy is “no few grains of sand”, estimating that the levy would be a “20% cut of EDBITA”.

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Drury argued that the pressure on grassroots is “an issue for the ecosystem”, suggesting that the responsibility should not lie solely with large capacity venues.

Instead, Drury advocated for the “Enter Shikari model“, wherein ticket profits were donated directly from the artist’s cut of sales to a charitable cause. The committee highlighted that a method relying on voluntary donation would be neither sustainable nor quantifiable.

A petition supporting the levy has been launched via and at the time of writing consists of 21,084 signatures.

The impact of rising costs is not only impacting music industry organisers but also consumers of live music. Last year, a crowdfunding project was launched to help young people afford music festivals.

With venues attempting to manage costs, live music is increasingly unaffordable, last year Vice predicted that 2023 would be the most expensive year for festivals referencing Glastonbury’s ticket prices which rose by 20% at the time.

Watch the full discussion below.

To sign the petition in support of the £1 levy, click here.

Belle Richardson is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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