A fresh report from the Mayor’s Music Venues Taskforce (a pretty poor band name, in my opinion) has outlined a number of measures they reckon will help boost London’s ‘night-time economy’. Though that phrase conjures up rather sordid images, we’re talking grassroots music venues (GMVs).
There’s been a worrying rise in gig venue closures in London over the last eight years. In 2007, there were 136 London GMVs in operation, while that number is currently said to stand at 88. A variety of factors are responsible for the drop, such as noise complaints, rising rents and the lack of a body standing up for the industry. BoJo’s crack team wants to stop the rot.
It’s looking at introducing a pretty grand-sounding ‘night-time economy champion’ -- think Boris in a Batman costume -- who would tackle the situation head-on, and a London Music Development Board, which would set up so-called 'music zones' and establish an optimum number of GMVs.
“From the Rolling Stones to David Bowie, the Clash to Oasis and Ed Sheeran to Adele, grassroots music venues have played a key role in enabling some of the biggest names in music to develop as artists and to build audiences,” said Boris, growling into a mic. “The Music Venues Taskforce report makes it clear that protecting live music venues is crucial to London’s continued position as the music capital of the world. This timely report will shape our long-term action plan to safeguard and revive London’s vital network of live music venues, ensuring the future of the capital’s culturally and economically important music scene.”