We introduce you to our partner, the Musicians’ Union, with an interview with their head of Live Performance, Kelly Wood.
IVW has become a much-loved part of the musical calendar, giving emerging bands the chance to play live. Supported by Arts Council England, Independent Venue Week brings together artists, promoters, labels, opinion leaders and the media. Last year’s event saw venues across the country play host to a hefty 981 artists, who in turn played in front of 38,231 gig-goers. IVW acknowledges and celebrates the people that own, run and work in these important venues, week in week out.
Meet the Partner: Musicians’ Union
with Kelly Wood (Live Performance Official)
Why did you get involved?
Independent venues are where many musicians start out, and also where performing artists can sustain careers across many years. It’s therefore vital to us that these venues are suitably supported and celebrated in order that they can continue to provide the employment opportunities, audiences and stages that are invaluable to musicians. We were grateful for the opportunity to be introduced to these venues in a way that allowed them to see the MU as being a force for good within the grassroots live music scene.
What does it mean for your members (brand)?
Our members need a healthy industry within which to create and perform music. For this to happen, venues need to be supported in order that they can operate viably, and subsequently engage artists fairly. It’s reassuring for our members to see the MU working with other organizations and initiatives within the industry to ensure that artists’ rights and employment opportunities are being supported and protected through high-profile, positive campaigns such as IVW.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your organisation?
We are a trade union for musicians and currently have a membership of approx. 30,000 members working across all sectors of the music industry. We advise musicians on a one-to-one basis, represent musicians collectively and also engage in political lobbying on issues that affect our members directly, and matters affecting the industry at large.
What’s your relationship with artists and venues?
Primarily, we represent artists. However, this requires us to have relationships with employers and to negotiate on behalf of our members. We recently launched our Fair Play Venues initiative (http://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/Home/News/2015/Nov/Fair-Play-Venues) which is a positive step in the direction of encouraging good, fair relationships between artists and venues.
Plans for 2018?
More of the same; our Live Performance dept will continue to work with industry partners and seek new ways to support the live scene. We also continuously update our live advice and information in order that musicians can access everything that they need to know when embarking on gigs and tours – locally, nationally and internationally.
Three top favourite venues?
We can’t have favourites!
What three venues haven’t you been to that you’d like to go to in 2016?
As there are only 2 of us in the Live Performance dept we haven’t yet managed to get to all of the venues. Luckily we have Regional Officials all around the UK who have been enjoying getting around the venues in their areas.
What do you hope to get out of your partnership with IVW?
We’d like to continue to build upon our existing relationships with venues and also to get to know the new IVW venues. We hope that the artists involved will see the MU’s involvement as an indication of our relevance to musicians working in the live sector.
Are you an IVW venue? Get in touch to find out more about our Fair Play Venues scheme.