Hackney and Islington music venues ‘saved from brink of disaster’ with share of emergency funding

Cheerleaderz play at The Victoria in Dalston. Picture: Nick Letchford

Cheerleaderz play at The Victoria in Dalston. Picture: Nick Letchford - Credit: Nick Letchford

Music venues in Hackney and across the country have been thrown a “lifeline” as part of a £1.57 billion pot of emergency funding during the coronavirus crisis.

The government’s £3.36 million Emergency Grassroot Music Venues Fund, which is taken from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, has been given to 135 grassroots music companies at risk of closure due to the pandemic.

Each venue will be receiving up to £80,000 to cover its ongoing running costs, and establishments across Hackney and Islington to benefit include The Lexington, PinUps, EartH Hackney, Folklore, Hand of Glory, Servan Jazz Quarters, The Jago, The Macbeth, The Victoria, and Village Underground.

READ MORE: Ten Islington establishments with crowdfunders amid the coronavirus pandemic

A representative from the Victoria Dalston described it as a “lifeline”: “We’re very grateful for having been saved from the brink of disaster but we’re also very conscious that going forward that it’s still very difficult times and that social distancing creates an unsustainable business model.

“We’re essentially really pleased, we’ve received no other assistance from any of the other funds of the government.”

They added, however, that going forward the venue will need more support.

The government said indoor performances will be restarting with socially-distanced audiences.

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Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “I encourage music fans to help support too by supporting music and cultural events as they start to get going again.

“We need a collective effort to help the things we love through Covid.”

The accelerated funding has been delivered by Arts Council England.

Arts Council England’s chief executive, Darren Henley, said: “This much-welcomed emergency investment from the government into grassroots music venues will have a profoundly positive impact on England’s music ecology, and today’s news will mean a great deal to the many artists, audiences and communities they serve across the country.”

This comes after the Music Venue Trust launched a campaign urging the government to save live music.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Hackney’s music venues face “catastrophe” without targeted government support

Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust said it “warmly welcomes” this first distribution from the Culture Recovery Fund while it continues to work on “ensuring their (venues) long term sustainability”.

It is not too late for venues to apply for a share of £500 million in grants delivered by Arts Council England, which is accepting applications until September 4.