SCOTLAND’S under threat grassroots music venues will soon be able to bid for a slice of a £2.2m lifeline fund.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop revealed details of the rescue package yesterday, saying it was only the start of the government’s help for the sector. 

The industry has been badly damaged by coronavirus. Venues were among the first to close down, and will likely be the last to open. 

Even if the government relaxes restrictions on indoor events, then there were almost certainly still need to be some form of social distancing which could makes gigs financially impossible.

It could mean venues like King Tuts in Glasgow, which can currently hold 350, being forced to reduce capacity to around 30. 

Summerhall in Edinburgh, which currently takes 450 in its Dissection Room would be reduced to around 45 people.

Last week, Rowan Campbell, Summerhall’s general manager, told the Sunday National those 45 people would “need to include bar staff, front-of-house staff, security staff, etc.”

“So realistically, you’re talking about 35 tickets to sell,” she added.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Hyslop said the amount had been agreed with the Music Venue Trust and will be used to “quickly provide” stability to these venues over the coming month

Hyslop said: “Earlier this week the UK Government also recognised our calls for more support for culture and heritage and there are a number of areas where immediate support is required, including grass roots music venues and museum.

“We are working closely with each of these sectors to develop support packages and will announce more details in due course.”

She added: “I have agreed a £2.2m fund with the Music Venues Trust for the coming months which will quickly provide much-needed stability to grass roots venues for the coming period.

“I hope this offers some comfort to those in the industry.”

Nick Stewart, Scottish co-ordinator for the Music Venue Trust, said they were “delighted” to have agreed this funding with the Scottish Government.

He added: “We thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues. This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”

Hyslop, whose brief also covers the economy announced a £38m fund for the “most-promising” entrepreneurs and innovators. 

The package, managed by Scottish Enterprise, includes £3m for start-ups, 
and “a competitive £25m Early Stage Growth Challenge Fund”.