Live music venues in London increase in number after decade of decline

Sophia Sleigh

More music venues are opening in London after nearly a decade of decline, according to figures released today.

From 2007 to 2016, the number of “grassroots” spaces fell by a third from 144 to 94. High-profile losses included the Astoria in Soho and the Elephant and Castle Coronet.

Within the last year, though, the number has risen by six per cent — from 94 to 100, according to City Hall.

Although eight venues closed and one stopped offering live music, an additional 15 sites are now playing music. New venues include Fold in Canning Town, St John’s Music Hall in Leytonstone, and EartH in Dalston.

A grassroots club is defined by the Music Venue Trust as a business run by experts with a sole focus on music. Many have reported coming under pressure from development, rising rents and business rates.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has introduced planning rules to protect venues and a Culture at Risk Office to support spaces.

And today, City Hall and the Music Venue Trust is releasing new guidelines on how to open and run them.