90% music venues in trouble – PRS for Music launches venue prize for local towns

PRS for Music launches Back to Live Music Venue Prize in the South and East of England to help local music venues come back better than ever before

Genesis Elijah announced as PRS for Music’s Back to Live Music Venue Prize 2022 ambassador for the South and East of England

Entries are now open at: www.prsformusic.com/backtolive

Genesis Elijah | Back To Live Ambassador for South & East England


PRS for Music, the organisation that represents over 160,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers across the UK, has today (Wednesday 18 May 2022) launched its Back to Live Music Venue Prize in the South and East of England. The nationwide competition will offer independent live music venues across the UK the chance to win one of six regional prizes of up to £10,000, helping to improve live music experiences for the local community, music creators, performers, and music fans. One of the prizes is dedicated to venues in the South and East of England and entries open today.

Independent live music venues are pivotal, not only in the music industry ecosystem, but within local communities, providing cultural spaces that inspire the next generation of singer-songwriters. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the live music sector and music creators has been well-documented; between 2019 and 2021, PRS for Music saw an 84% decline in the number of live performance setlists reported to the organisation, falling from 124,000 in 2019, to 19,300 in 2021.*

With restrictions being lifted across the UK, music creators are eager to get back on stage and fans to once again enjoy live music. PRS for Music looks to support these venues on the road to recovery, as the sound of live music makes hearts beat and ears ring once more, bigger, and bolder than ever before.

PRS for Music’s Back to Live Music Venue Prize competition will run throughout the year and is open to independent live music venues that are not part of a national brand. Venues can be bespoke music venues or be part of another business such as a pub or bar, as long as they had an established standalone live music offering before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Judges are looking for live music venues at the heart of their communities in which the £10,000 prize will make a real difference to the venue, music fans, and local music creators.

Genesis Elijah, Bedfordshire-based rapper, singer, songwriter, producer and Back to Live Music Venue Prize 2022 ambassador for the South and East of England, said: “They say go local before you go global and that phrase is really the key to any successful act we’ve ever seen make it big in music. The opportunity to play local shows in independent venues is so important to artists because it allows you to build your foundation. We speak a lot about how important it is to network and these are the places where that can really happen at a meaningful level. You get to meet other people doing what you do at the same stage and on the same stage. To this day I credit being able to perform regularly at my local venue (Trinity in Harrow) as a major part of my career because it’s where I learnt if I can move 20 people then maybe I can move 2000. PRS for Music’s Back to Live Music Venue Prize is amazing and super important because live music is the foundation of all we do.”

Michelle Escoffery, President of the PRS Members’ Council, said: “PRS for Music recognises the vital role that independent music venues bring to the cultural make-up of a town or city. These venues are critical support mechanisms and usually the first point of contact for songwriters and performers to be in front of a live audience. It’s exactly these smaller grassroots venues that act as launch pads championing local music creators, who could go on to build long and illustrious careers. Back to Live Music Venue Prize aims to support venues at the heart of their communities, as audiences create live music memories once more.”

Andrea Czapary Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, said: Back to Live Music Venue Prize will shine a light on independent music venues across the UK. Venues play such an important part in the music industry ecosystem, with many featuring live performances by emerging talented songwriters and composers. We look forward to music creators once again taking the stage, and revelling in the joy that live music brings with it. Last year, we launched our ‘On with the Show’ campaign to support our members returning to performing live, this initiative builds on that to ensure we can enjoy live music.”

To enter the competition, applicants must detail how the prize money would be spent, and what it would mean for their business to win. The judging panel will be made up of leading figures and representatives from across the music, arts, and hospitality sectors.

Please see here for more information and the Back to Live Music Venue Prize entry form: www.prsformusic.com/backtolive