The UK’s live music sector is today issuing an urgent plea for support from the Government.
The appeal, made in a letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, is signed by 1,500 artists, many of whom were due to perform at major festivals this summer.
The call to government comes as new research commissioned by the industry demonstrates the vital economic contribution of the live sector. As well as supporting 210,000 jobs across the country, venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5bn to the economy in 2019.
As a result of social distancing measures, concerts and festivals are unlikely to take place again in the UK until 2021 at the earliest. Many hundreds of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year.
In the joint letter, artists write: ‘UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.
‘Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world leading industry.’
To coincide with the letter, hundreds of artists, venues, concerts, festivals, production companies and other people across the industry will today begin posting films and photos of their last live gig under the banner #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to, all in a mass show of support for the UK’s world-leading live music industry during its shutdown.
Liam Gallagher said: 'Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love. I can’t wait to get back to playing for the fans. But in the meantime we need to look after the live industry. There are so many great people in it and we all need to support them until we can get back to playing live.'
Beverley Knight said: ‘Alongside my love of music and theatre is my love of Wolverhampton Wanderers. We now need to see the same energy and ambition that brought football back applied to live music and theatre because, if not, the impact on the industry is going to be devastating and some elements may never come back.”
Emily Eavis, Glastonbury organiser, said: ‘The UK's venues, festivals, performers and crew bring so much to this country's culture and economy, but they are now facing desperate financial challenges. If the government doesn't step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.’