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New fund to support grassroots music will offer grants of up to £40k to rehearsal spaces, recording studios, festivals, venues and promoters. 

A group of musicians rehearse in a studio
Rehearsal spaces, recording studios and festivals can apply for the new fund

cottonbro studio via Pexels

The grassroots music sector is set to benefit from £5m of financial support through a new fund that will provide grants for practice and recording spaces as well as venues. 

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer, will announce the government's Supporting Grassroots Music (SGM) initiative at the WeCreate conference in Manchester later today (13 November).

Funded by Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the SGM fund is part of the UK government’s Creative Industries sector vision which aims to grow the creative industries by £50bn by 2030. It will be adminstered by Arts Council England (ACE) and follows on from the funder's Supporting Grassroots Live Music programme, initially launched in 2019. 


The new scheme will run until March 2025, providing grants of up to £40,000 for successful applicants. In a change from the fund’s previous iteration, rehearsal spaces, recording studios, and festivals will be eligible to apply alongside live music venues, venues for electronic music and independent promoters.

A survey by the Music Venues Trust (MVT) found that between February 1 and September 18 this year, the UK lost 125 grassroots music venues, with 76 identified as having closed permanently and 72 as having ceased to offer live music.

The ongoing economic and logistical impacts of the Covid pandemic and the financial implications of rising energy rates, business rates and supply costs were all cited as critical factors.

"From the Troubadour in London to The Brickyard in Carlisle, we provided a lifeline to hundreds of grassroots venues during the pandemic," said Creative Industries Minister Sir John Whittingdale.

"We have continued that support in recognition that grassroots venues are the backbone of our music industry, providing a platform for musicians to hone their craft and supporting thousands of local jobs.

"Today, thanks to an extra £5m in government investment, even more parts of the grassroots music landscape... can access support to build their businesses, reach new audiences and maximise their creative potential."

Jon Collins, Chief Executive at LIVE, welcomed the new funding, predicting it will “deliver back many times over, bolstering domestic touring, driving additional activity into local economies and delivering joy to millions".

Bedrock of UK music industry

ACE’s role as delivery partner for the funding stream builds on its previous involvement in sector-specific initiatives, including awarding a £500,000 grant to Music Venue Properties, a MVT project set up to buy the freeholds of grassroots music venues to safeguard their futures. 

Earlier this year, ACE extended its Supporting Grassroots Live Music Fund, a strand of its National Lottery Project Grants, with £1.5m over six months until September following an evaluation that found it had a “significant impact” on grassroots music.

Claire Mera-Nelson, Director of Music at ACE, said: "We are proud that DCMS has looked to Arts Council as its trusted delivery partner for this vital and timely support for England’s grassroots music sector.

“Over the past four years and more – including through the UK government’s Culture Recovery Fund – we have worked to develop a shared understanding of the needs and challenges of grassroots organisations and the individuals who work with and are supported by them.

"In our work to deliver this new grassroots investment, we hope to see this bedrock of the UK music industry thrive and bring even more people together through a shared love of music."

A headshot of Mary Stone