RADAR Festival supports grassroots venues with a £1 levy fund

A Trafford festival is to be the first in the country to donate a percentage of ticket profits to grassroots venues in need.

RADAR Festival, taking place at Victoria Warehouse in July, will use £1 of every ticket sold to support grassroots venues in need of financial support, due to the rising costs of living. 

The Music Venue Trust, who are partnering with the festival for this initiative, reported that over 125 grassroots venues had periods of closure last year, with over half of these venues shutting permanently, in what they call a “disaster” for live music.  

The announcement follows more calls for a mandatory ‘ticket levy’ on all major stadium and arena tours to support grassroots venues, after artists and figures in the music industry headed to parliament to make their case to the UK Government. 

Co-organiser of RADAR festival Catherine Jackson-Smith, who owns The Lounge bar in Alton, Hampshire, said, “If we don’t protect the smaller venues then there isn’t a pipeline for the next headliners, and this ticking time bomb is something that the music industry can, and must, take action on.” 

The Music Pipeline Fund

The Music Pipeline Fund, organised by the Music Venue Trust, gives small-scale grants to grassroots music venues, pubs and art spaces of up to £5000. The fund has helped support over 67 grassroots venues across the UK, awarding over £260 thousand since its founding in 2022. 

Iconic Manchester venues such as Rebellion, Retro and The Old Abbey Taphouse in Hulme have benefitted from the fund.

Enter Shikari vocalist Rou Reynolds on their last UK arena tour, Photo taken by Nick Davarius
Rou Reynolds, vocalist of Enter Shikari, during their arena tour last year. Credit: Nick Davarius

London alternative rock band Enter Shikari committed £1 from every ticket sold during their arena show last year, but this is the first time a festival has made a mandatory donation of ticket sales. This groundbreaking partnership between RADAR Festival and the Music Venue Trust hopes to inspire other arena tours and festivals to back this initiative. 

RADAR Festival

Alternative Music Festival RADAR started in 2019 to push the boundaries in music and touring. The festival caters for musicians and fans alike, promoting unique masterclasses and panels as well as a designated space to showcase new technology in music, instruments and gaming.  

The festival believes in supporting the music industry. Co-founder Joe James adds: “Many of the crew working at RADAR – lighting and sound engineers, stage and production managers, merchandise sellers and more – gained first-hand experience at grassroots venues. As well as nurturing artists these training grounds support the whole talent ecosystem.”

RADAR is also working on gender-parity in their lineups, as well as making the event accessible and gender-inclusive. 

Simon attended the festival last year. He said, “Having a recognised festival that attracts quality artists to play championing MVT and their initiative with grass roots venues can only be a positive, that can hopefully lead to more engagement in the music community and furthering of the messaging around the need to assist small independent venues.”

RADAR moved to its Manchester location in 2023, with Victoria Warehouse hosting The Midnight, TesseracT and Leprous from the 26th to the 28th of July.