Tunbridge Wells Forum has announced it is becoming the first venue in the country to introduce a grassroots ticket levy.

Throughout the month of May, £1 from every ticket sold will be donated to the Music Venue Trust’s Pipeline Fund at no additional expense to gig goers.

“We have had a conversation here today at The Forum and with the positive government investigation into the support of all grassroots music activity along with the regular news on the arena situation in Manchester, we have decided to show just how easy it is to make this happen,” the 250-capacity venue wrote in a post on Instagram.

“Throughout May 2024 and at no extra cost to the customer, we will be including a £1 levy on all tickets sold in that month for shows at our venue and the total will be given to the Music Venue Trust pipeline fund. The customer will not and should not have to pay for this. This can be managed within the price of the ticket.


“This levy is something we should not have to do but if a grassroots venue has the ability to make this work and give back to other venues in the UK, then the larger venues, arenas, stadiums and festivals can also do their bit for the cause.”

Recently, it was announced Alien Ant Farm and CKY had become the first American band to add a £1 ticket levy to their UK tours.


It follows a similar move by Enter Shikari last year; last May, the band shared details of a 2024 run of UK tour dates, where £1 from each ticket sold was donated to the Music Venue Trust.

Other companies have launched similar initiatives. Independent ticketing company Skiddle announced in October it would donate 50p of every ticket sold towards saving grassroots music venues, while taxi firm FREENOW pledged to donate £1 from every ride to the cause.

Ticketmaster have introduced a Music Venue Trust charity upsell option, enabling fans to make direct contributions to MVT when purchasing tickets. Halifax venue Piece Hall has also implemented a similar scheme.

Meanwhile, the reference to the “arena situation in Manchester” comes after the city’s new Co-Op Live Arena faced a series of disasters this week after pulling A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie‘s show last-minute due to part of an air conditioning unit falling from the ceiling. Since the discovery of the malfunctioning unit, shows for Olivia RodrigoKeane, and Take That have all been confirmed to have been cancelled at the Co-Op Live.


It also ended up at the centre of a row after then-boss Gary Roden came under fire for saying that some smaller venues in the UK are “poorly run” and dismissed calls for a £1 ticket levy on all gigs arena-sized and above.

In response, Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, told NME that he believed Roden’s comments were “disrespectful and disingenuous”, while also highlighting the irony of making such “ill-judged, unnecessary and misleading” remarks on the week that their own venue was forced to postpone their own launch, due to a number of logistical problems.

However, the venue has now said it will meet with the Music Venue Trust to discuss the levy after it initially said it wouldn’t implement it.

Last month, artists and figures from the live music industry headed to Parliament to make the case to the UK government that there should be a mandatory £1 ticket levy on all gigs arena-sized and above, in order to secure the future of grassroots venues and artists.

Earlier this year, the Music Venue Trust delivered their full report into the state of the sector for 2023, showing the “disaster” facing live music with venues closing at a rate of around two per week. Presented at Westminster, the MVT echoed their calls for a levy on tickets on gigs at arena size and above and for major labels and such to pay back into the grassroots scene, arguing that “the big companies are now going to have to answer for this”.

The Music Venue Trust (MVT) have said that grassroots venues in the UK are heading for “disaster” without intervention as more venues face closure

Speaking on a panel about the future of grassroots music at Manchester’s inaugural ‘Beyond The Music‘ conference on Friday (October 13), Mark Davyd, CEO of MVT, said over the last 12 months, “127 music venues of the grassroots type have stopped programming live music or closed down entirely” – something he described as a “fucking disaster” – despite the fact 2023 has been “the best year in history for live music receipts” with the industry making over £765million in 2022.