Bosses at what will soon be the UK’s largest indoor stadium say they are committed to Manchester’s ‘grassroots music sector,’ but some believe they should go further.
A new report on the longevity of the UK music scene has been published by The Music Venue Trust (MVT). The document proposes that ‘all new arenas opening in the UK’ to ‘contribute to the wider music eco-system by investing a percentage of every ticket sale into grassroots venues’.
This includes a specific request for the £365 million Co-op Live, which is set to open near to the Etihad Stadium in December. With a capacity of 23,500, it will be the largest indoor arena in the country.
In a letter to Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, the CEO of the Trust, Mark Dayvd, stated that “Grassroots Music Venues in Manchester are at breaking point in their ability to support new and emerging talent. We can’t just go on opening arena after arena with nothing at all being invested into Research & Development.
“Co-op Live is the next one of these arenas due to open and our message to them is simple; you cannot expect to be able to sell 23,000 tickets a night to see artists in five or ten years’ time without investing in the places where those artists start, where their careers begin, where they learn how to be the main stage acts you need and rely on.
“We need [owners] Oak View Group to ensure that every ticket they sell is directly investing in the future of the industry. Music Venue Trust has the tools to make this happen, we need Co-op Live to step up and make it a reality.”
The new venue’s bosses, on the other hand, have responded. They stated that they have already committed to giving its foundation an annual investment of £1 million.
“Music Venue Trust’s statement that Co-op Live have no plans to invest in grassroots venues is inaccurate,” Mark Donnelly, the COO, Oak View Group International, told the M.E.N. “We have previously reached out to the organisation following initial conversation on December 7, and are currently awaiting a meeting to discuss collaboration as we prepare to open our venue.
“We are committed to giving back to the local community, having pledged £1 million annually to the Co-op Foundation, and working towards Manchester City Council’s target of net zero carbon by 2038. This ethos extends further into the grassroots sector, working alongside Manchester’s vibrant Night & Day Café to host our recent countdown event.”
Work on the new arena is still ongoing, with Harry Styles contributing to design some of the finishes on the venue bowl. Bosses say they will host ‘100 nights of music a year’, In addition to other events like UFC.