Venue Summit Workshop: Early stages
Host: Auro Foxcroft, Village Underground (UK)
Sarah Clover, Barrister (UK)
Chris Garrit, Night mayor of Groningen (NL)
Amy Lamé, London's Night Czar (UK)
Shain Shapiro, Sound Advice (UK)
Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust (UK)
Beverley Whitrick, Music Venue Trust (UK)
Introduced by Music Venue Trust (MVT)’s Mark Davyd, the second panel of the Venue Summit featured presentations from Village Underground founder Auro Foxcroft, London’s night czar, Amy Lamé, licensing barrister Sarah Clover, Sound Diplomacy’s Shain Shapiro and MVT co-founder Beverley Whitrick.
Foxcroft was first up, speaking on the history of Village Underground, a Shoreditch venue/creative hub constructed from disused London Underground train carriages. The concept has since expanded to Lisbon, and there are plans to launch in Barcelona and Berlin.
Foxcroft also highlighted the importance of small venues for the development of new talent: “Without grassroots music venues, there is no talent pipeline… and not much of a music industry,” he commented.
Lamé was recently appointed by London mayor Sadiq Khan as the city’s first ‘night czar’ responsible for “making London into a 24-hour city.” “Not a night mayor, as we had a nightmare in City Hall for eight years!” she joked.
Post-Brexit, she said, London needs to “think about strengths” – chief among them its music scene. “We’re now seventh in the world,” she said, referring to London’s live music strength, as measured by a city’s population, music spend and the number of grassroots venues. “We’re below Bogota; we’re below Melbourne. […] We’ve taken our eye off the ball. Not any more.”
Clover, of law firm Kings Chambers, said it’s important that venues understand licensing law in their country or city. She spoke on the British House of Lords’ review of the Licensing Act and the ‘agent-of-change’ principle to protect UK venues from property developers, saying the introduction of agent of change is a “good example of how the law can be used and changed in order to influence our culture and music environment… it’s of great importance for everybody.”
After three relatively UK-centric presentations, Shapiro, also co-founder of the Music Cities Conference, said venues globally are waking up to the importance of engaging with planning authorities: “These problems are starting to be tackled in places you wouldn’t think they would be.”
The night mayor of Berlin, he said, recently spearheaded a city-wide mapping of its creative venues, while there is also “interesting work being done in Latin America, including Colombia, Chile, Paraguay…”
The US, however, is leading the way, as “most cities have music offices. Even Eau Claire, Wisconsin" – a city of some 65,000 people – "has a music office!"
“Every single city or town should have a music policy,” Shapiro concluded. “It shouldn’t be special – it should just be.”
Whitrick wrapped up by saying that, over the course of the session, the inaugural UK Live Music Census had gone live. Described as “a Springwatch for live music", it will track performances in six British cities – Glasgow, Newcastle, Oxford, Leeds, Southampton and Brighton – for 24 hours, and also incorporate an online survey for musicians, venues, promoters and audiences.