Grassroots music venues play a crucial role in the development of Welsh music, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.
These venues also play a vital role in the cultural and economic vibrancy of any village, town or city.
Since the pandemic forced music venues to close their doors early in 2020 Music Venue Trust, (the charity that represents hundreds of grassroots music venues in the UK) via its #saveourvenues campaign, has helped unlock over £80m of funding from donations and government initiatives, which has seen over 400 venues secure their immediate futures until March 31st 2021.
On Valentine’s Day, Music Venue Trust wants to hear your venue love stories. Did you meet your partner at a gig? Did you fall head over heels for your favourite band in a Grassroots Music Venue? Did you bond with your best friend in the moshpit?
Venues are more than just a place where bands perform: they create communities and form the backdrop for so many valued social interactions and shared life experiences.
With venues still closed, Music Venue Trust wants to celebrate the country’s music venues and the huge impact they have had on people’s lives.
You can take part by posting a picture with the hashtag #VenueValentine and detail your venue love story. And don’t forget to tag the venue in your post.
‘Music and laughter’
One couple who met, fell in love and married following meeting through the music scene in Swansea are Chris and Sierra.
The couple’s relationship revolved around venues in the city.
“Our relationship has been very venue orientated,” says Sierra.
“We believe we first met in The Scene, where a person I was seeing at the time was performing at Battle of the Bands. We don’t remember meeting, but Chris has one of the band CDs that I was giving out, so we figure we must have met at some point that night.”
After that initial encounter, their relationship blossomed around the music venues, bars and clubs that make up the city’s nightlife.
“We next met at OMG, when we were both on a night out with mutual friends,” says Sierra. “Chris was pretty flirtatious all night, and we ended up hooking up.
“Over the next few months, we hung out a lot, mostly at The Scene, OMG, and Jack Murphys, and we went official after Varsity at Walkabout a few months later.”
The couple, Sierra, 32, and Chris, 28, dated for a couple of years and eventually tied the knot at one of their favourite Swansea music venues.
“We dated for a couple of years after that, and I ended up working in various bars on Wind Street as a photographer, bartender and eventually as a duty manager in Jack Murphys, where Chris would often come to keep me company as I worked,” says Sierra.
“Eventually, after we’d been dating for a couple of years, Chris ended up proposing to me in Jack Murphys, and of course I accepted.
“A year later, we were married in a pagan ceremony, and, in the spirit of our relationship, we had our reception in one of the Swansea venues we loved – Creature Sound.
“We had a wonderful evening, a fact which was facilitated by how amazing Kaz and Allen, the owners of Creature Sound, were – they worked with our friends to organise an event far beyond our expectations, full of music and laughter. We couldn’t have asked for better hosts.”
The couple say that if it wasn’t for the city’s music venues their relationship would never have prospered in the joyous way it has.
“Without the music venues in Swansea, Chris and I might never have met,” points out Sierra. “And we certainly wouldn’t have had a relationship so full of joy.”
The story of Music Venue Trust
Music Venue Trust (MVT) is a registered charity, created in January 2014 to protect, secure and improve the UK live music network by securing the long-term future of iconic grassroots music venues such as Hull Adelphi, Exeter Cavern, Southampton Joiners, The 100 Club, Band on the Wall, Tunbridge Wells Forum etc.
These venues have played a crucial role in the development of British music over the last 40 years, nurturing local talent, providing a platform for artists to build their careers and develop their music and their performance skills.
MVT works to gain recognition of the essential role these venues fulfil, not only for artist development but also for the cultural and music industries, the economy and local communities. MVT aims to preserve and improve venues, making them more efficient and improving the experience for performers and audiences. Long-term the charity plans to acquire the freeholds of as many of these vital venues as possible.
Find out more here.