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Welsh music venues given £718,000 to help secure future

Struggling grassroots music venues across Wales have been offered £718,000 in funding.

A total of 17 will split the money from the Welsh government to help restructure and improve their facilities.

The announcement came during Independent Venue Week, a seven-day celebration of the places and people that promote music and the arts.

For many it is a lifeline that they hope will help secure their future.

"This venue is quite small and some nights we reach capacity so we're hoping this funding can help us increase that," said Zac Marsden, owner of the Bank Vault in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion.

He added that while he regularly stages free events to appeal to more customers it means struggling all the more with rising costs.

"With the cost of living crisis, people have been tightening their belts and saving money," said Mr Marsden.

"People are going out less and when they do go out, they are not drinking as much.

"But at the minute with rising bills, we are finding it hard to break even."

'This funding is really important'

He said grassroots music venues were important to the music industry as a springboard for launching new talent.

"We are competing with massive stadiums hosting massive artists, but those very same acts started out in venues like ours - so this funding is really important," he said.

The funding, announced by the Deputy Minister for Arts Dawn Bowden, is part of the Creative Wales Music Capital Fund.

Porters in Cardiff is another venue that has received funding which helped with its recent move to new premises.

Owner Dan Porter said the money had helped make the new venue more accessible for customers with disabilities.

He said: "I cannot overstate how difficult it is for grassroots venues at the moment - everything is against us.

"There is no doubt in my mind that without support like this we would have found it impossible to continue, meaning and artists and audiences would have lost another venue."

Last month, new research warned that grassroots music venues risked closure.

The Music Venues Trust (MVT) said financial stresses led 125 UK venues to abandon live music in 2023, with over half of these shutting entirely.

Ms Bowden said the funding will have an economic benefit to the music industry.

"The Music Capital Fund has encouraged a step change in the music industry. Improved facilities will add to the range of use of venues, attract better artists and increase audience numbers.," she added.

"All of which will have an immediate economic benefit to music businesses, their supply chains, and the industry as a whole."