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An initiative dubbed the 'National Trust of Music Venues’ confirms purchase of the freehold of its first grassroots music venue.

John Whittingdale MP and Mark Davyd CEO unveiling a plaque for The Snug
(l tor) Claire Mera-Nelson (Director of Music, ACE), Rachael Flaszczak (MD at The Snug), John Whittingdale (Minister, Creative Industries), Mark Davyd (CEO/Founder, Music Venue Trust)

A grassroots music venue in Greater Manchester has become the first to be acquired under Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) #ownourvenues scheme.

The Snug, a 100-capacity venue in Atherton, has been purchased by Music Venue Properties (MVP), an independent Charitable Community Benefit Society created by MVT to progress its venue ownership scheme.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the world, the scheme will purchase the freehold of grassroots music venues to safeguard their futures. It received the green light earlier this year following backing from over 1250 individual investors and match funding from Arts Council England and NESTA.


As part of the deal, MVP has placed the building occupied by The Snug into permanent protected status.

It is offering the venue a rent reduction and contributions towards building repairs and insurance to “remove The Snug from the pressures of the commercial lease market”.

Rachael Flaszczak, Managing Director of The Snug, said MVP’s purchase “allows us to continue to provide this very important space to up and coming artists for many years to come”. 

“We now feel secure and confident to plan ahead knowing the venue is in safe hands with people that have a shared vision of the future of new music,” Flaszczak said.

“To be the first of many serves as a light of hope that the preservation of grassroots music venues can be done when people pull together to make things happen, and The Snug can keep showcasing the cultural life within our community.”

According to MVT research, 93% of grassroots music venues in the UK are tenants with the majority having less than 18 months on their current tenancies.

As part of this acquisition, The Slug’s current operators have signed a ‘cultural lease’, an agreement specifically created by MVP to guarantee that as long as The Snug operates as a space for grassroots live music for their local community, they can enjoy the use of the building.

‘A way forward for music’

MVT CEO Mark Davyd said the first acquisition is “the culmination of a long-held ambition”.

“It shows a way forward not just for music, but for community ownership right across the UK. We hope we have created a template that can be replicated wherever a community highly values a cultural asset.”

MVP has identified a further eight venues across England, Scotland and Wales for the pilot project that will allow the scheme to establish proof of concept.

The development follows research from MVT released last week that found the UK has lost 125 grassroots music venues since 1 February this year.