Grassroot Manchester music venues look for increased support from City Council review

Manchester City Council has announced it will be launching an independent review into how to best support grassroot music venues across the city.

With plans revealed on March 20, the review will begin in April and will be overseen by Manchester Music City (MMC), an organisation which aims to support these small and medium-sized venues.

MMC is an initiative set up by Brighter Sound, a music development organisation founded in Manchester over 20 years ago.

Chair of MMC and director of Brighter Sound, Debra King, highlighted what the review aims to achieve.

Ms King said: “It will really consider the needs of the music sector and advise on the ongoing development of Manchester as a music city.

“It’s brilliant that it is an independent review. It’s absolutely important in terms of making sure that music continues to be central in what we do in Manchester.”

The director also discussed the difficulties the music industry has experienced in recent years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector was hit heavily by financial issues.

In particular, many people working in music moved on to alternative roles and careers because of these funding concerns.

Ms King added: “During Covid, MMC was involved in supporting independent venues and informing them about financial opportunities.”

In a statement regarding the review, Leader of Manchester City Council Bev Craig said that music in Manchester is part of what makes it a ‘world class city’.

Cllr Craig added: “Music is a part of Manchester’s DNA… grassroots venues are an essential element in nurturing talent. The council, and its partners, want to do all we can to support and protect them.”

Music venues in Manchester have recently been in the spotlight, in particular the Night and Day Cafe, which has faced the threat of closure due to noise issues.

Councillor Craig addressed the ongoing dispute in reference to the review, stating: “I’m confident that this independent review will help us find solutions to prevent future cases and move us forward in the future.”

Debra King concluded: “Grassroots venues are absolutely vital to the vibrancy of Manchester. From the review, the recommendations need to be acted upon.”

It is expected that the review will finish in the Autumn of this year, providing guidance on how to best protect and grow one of Manchester’s integral identities.

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