A BELOVED music venue celebrated a "monuemental" event this week as it became the first grassroots venue to be "permanently protected" under a new scheme.

Well-known venue for its intimate setting and wide variety of gigs, The Snug has become a celebrated music hub since launching along Market Street in Atherton in 2015.

Like many grassroots venues, the Snug suffered serious struggles throughout the pandemic and cost of living crisis after event schedules were postponed and the cost of equipment and bills continued to rise.

However, as it is regarded as one of the most vibrant grassroots venues around, the Snug has become the first venue to be purchased by Music Venue Properties (MVP) under the #OwnOurVenues campaign to secure its long-term future.

READ > The beloved cafe that knows everyone's order and is a 'fantastic place to be'

Leigh Journal: Creative Industries Minister Sir John Whittingdale unveiling the Snug plaqueCreative Industries Minister Sir John Whittingdale unveiling the Snug plaque (Image: Music Venues Trust)
The purchase means that MVP now owns the freehold of the building, with the Snug's 'cultural lease' guaranteeing its future for as long as it used as a space to support grassroots live music.

Alongside the security offered by the new cultural lease, The Snug is also directly supported in its ambition to bring music to its local community, with the agreement also including a rent reduction and contribution towards building repairs and insurance.

The acquisition by MVP, created by Music Venues Trust, has been made possible by over 1200 individual investors and fans in 'community shares', as well as £500,000 investment from both Arts Council England and Arts and Culture Finance to secure these vital community assets for the long term.

The historic purchase was marked by an official launch event and an unveiling of a commemorative plaque on Thursday, October 4, which included guests such as Mark Davyd, CEO and Founder of Music Venue Trust, government ministers, Arts Council officials, as well as local musicians, councillors, and fans.

Leigh Journal: Event manager Ben Morgan and managing director Rachael FlaszczakEvent manager Ben Morgan and managing director Rachael Flaszczak (Image: The Snug)
Speaking about the acquisition, managing director at the Snug, Rachael Flaszczak, said: "The Snug being purchased by Music Venue Properties means everything to me, my team and our community, as it allows us to continue to provide this very important space to up and coming artists for many years to come.

"We now feel secure and confident to plan ahead knowing the venue is in safe hands with people that have a shared vision of the future of new music. 

"To be the first of many serves as a light of hope that the preservation of grassroots music venues can be done when people pull together to make things happen, and The Snug can keep showcasing the cultural life within our community” .

In a statement online, the Snug team added that the launch event was a "monumental" day that they will "cherish forever".

Leigh Journal: The Snug is a loved for its intimate setting and variety of gigsThe Snug is a loved for its intimate setting and variety of gigs (Image: The Snug)
Mark Dayvd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, added: "The #OwnOurVenues project is a cutting-edge initiative and this first acquisition of The Snug is the culmination of a long-held ambition of Music Venue Trust.

"It shows a way forward not just for music, but for community ownership right across the UK. We hope we have created a template that can be replicated wherever a community highly values a cultural asset.”