Last Friday I took part in an event at the Exchange, bringing together music venues from across the city. The event was organised and chaired by Thangam Debbonaire MP for Bristol West, and I was joined on the panel by Annie McGann from Savebristolnightlife, Mark Davyd from the Music Venue Trust, Paul Gray and Dave Webster from the Musicians Union, and Tom Kiehl from UK Music.
We had a wide ranging discussion about issues affecting music venues in Bristol, including licensing problems, business rates rises, changing patterns of alcohol consumption and minimum pricing, and a lack of engagement with housing developers. We heard about progress being made in parliament, with John Spellar bring forward his “Agent of Change” private members’ bill and talks with Ministers about including this principle in the National Planning Policy Framework. We were also told about Bristol City Council’s work on the night-time economy and how we can ensure grassroots music venues have a voice.
Live music venues are crucial to Bristol’s cultural life, and for developing the next generation of artists. This meeting was a really important step towards ensuring their continued survival.