Yorkshire’s Independent Music Venues Supported Through Groundbreaking Agreement with The Piece Hall

Concert goers attending shows at The Piece Hall will soon be able to help grassroots venues while watching some of music’s biggest stars.

Music Venue Trust (MVT) has signed a groundbreaking funding agreement with The Piece Hall and promoters Cuffe and Taylor.

It means that for all 2024 shows at the historic Yorkshire venue fans will be able to opt in to add a donation to MVT when purchasing tickets through Ticketmaster.

The funds raised will go directly towards supporting grassroots music venues in Calderdale borough through MVT’s Pipeline Investment Fund (PIF).

The Piece Hall is the first major venue in the UK to offer fans the opportunity to support independent venues in this way at point of purchase.

Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of Music Venue Trust, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging year for grassroots music venues, with more than 100 venues forced to close their doors to live music and many more at risk.

 “It is absolutely vital that everyone in the music industry recognises the incredible strain the grassroots sector is under, and so it’s great to see The Piece Hall leading the way with a plan that will really make a genuine difference to other venues in the local area.

 “We are extremely grateful to The Piece Hall and Cuffe and Taylor for coming together to support the whole ecosystem around them – we hope it inspires others to follow.” 

The Piece Hall has just enjoyed a record-breaking year of live music with more than 125,000 tickets sold across 22 headline shows from the likes of Sting, Queens of The Stone Age, George Ezra and Boygenius.

Nicky Chance Thompson MBE DL, CEO of The Piece Hall Charitable Trust, said: “Our partnership with Cuffe and Taylor means we can bring global superstars to Halifax. We try wherever possible to make sure they are supported by local talent, but I’m conscious that we need to do what we can to support our smaller independent venues. 

“Grassroots venues are vital to the future of the music scene. The acts performing in these cherished and independent venues today, are the ‘Live at the Piece Hall’ headliners of tomorrow. 

“Therefore, I’m so pleased we’ve been able to find a way to help our local venues, to ensure the talent keeps coming through, and I’m really proud that we’re leading the way – as the first venue in the UK to do this across our entire season.”

Peter Taylor, co-founder of Cuffe and Taylor, added: “We are delighted, through our ticketing partners Ticketmaster, that we have been able to set up a system whereby music fans can help grassroots venues when buying tickets for headline shows at The Piece Hall.

“MVT’s work is absolutely vital. To be able to ring fence the money raised means fans who opt in to donate are directly supporting Calderdale’s up-and-coming musicians and the local venues in the borough that are so important to their development as artists.”

The Pipeline Investment Fund is a grant-giving fund established by MVT with the support of venue members of the Music Venues Alliance.

PIF allows small-scale grant applications (up to £5,000) from grassroots music venues to support two areas of work:

  • Small-scale capital applications; including lights, sound, access, ventilation and minor building alterations
  • Staff Training; diversifying your workforce, succession planning, skills development, and strengthening local community ties

The funding agreement with the MVT came about after Michael Ainsworth, owner of The Grayston Unity, Horton Street, Halifax, approached The Piece Hall and highlighted the plight of grassroots venues.

Michael said: “As the owner of a grassroots music venue I’m delighted The Piece Hall, through their partners Cuffe and Taylor, listened to my request and has agreed to implement this and be the first venue in the UK, and possibly the world, to do such a thing to support independent venues. 

“It will help venues like mine and others in the area such as The Golden Lion, The Blind Pig, Puzzle Hall Inn and Trades Club and in doing so, help us to continue to supply the artists and tech staff of the future.”

The Piece Hall is a unique architectural and cultural wonder. Grade I listed, it originally opened in 1779 for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth produced by Yorkshire’s famous woollen mills and is the only remaining Georgian cloth hall in the world.

Now an award-winning contemporary cultural, heritage and live entertainment destination, The Piece Hall has welcomed more than 10.5 million visitors through its historic gates since it re-opened in 2017 and its iconic courtyard makes for a truly unique concert experience.

Cuffe and Taylor, which entered into a co-promoter partnership with The Piece Hall Trust in 2022, has extensive experience in staging major concerts.

This summer they staged more than 60 outdoor shows across The Piece Hall, Lytham Festival, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Chepstow Racecourse, Bedford Concerts and Cardiff Castle in addition to around 1,000 nights of live theatre.

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