The UK dance music and events sector has come together today to issue an urgent plea for help from the UK government in light of the COVID-19 crisis.
The call to the government comes since the announcement of a £1.57bn support package for Britain's arts and culture sector. However, the government narrative to-date on the allocation of this support has not included nightclubs, dance music events and festivals to receive funding from this package for the arts.
Dance music clubs and festival culture are a vital part of the British heritage as well as generating millions of pounds in revenue for the economy, it adds to the ever-growing nightlife tourism figures boasting 300 million visits a year across the UK.
There are over 1600 nightclubs across the UK which play a significant role in supporting the wider The Night Time economy which generates 66 billion in revenue per annum (6 percent of the UK's total). Festivals (across all genres) contribute £1.75bn GVA to the UK Economy annually and support 85,000 jobs.
But, because businesses are unable to operate under the current social distancing measures, dance festivals, events, and nightclubs are unlikely to take place again in the UK for the foreseeable future. Thousands of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year. Until these businesses can operate again, government clarity on the roadmap for reopening safely and access to support for the arts will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and potential demise of this world-leading industry.
The campaign is supported by a host of artists who are standing up for their art including; Adam Beyer, Andy C, Caribou, Charlotte De Witte, Daniel Avery, Eats Everything, Fatboy Slim, Four Tet, Danny Rampling, Irvine Welsh, Maya Jane Coles, Massive Attack, Mistajam, Norman Jay OBE, Pete Tong, Roni Size, Simone Butler (Primal Scream), Thom Yorke.
Michael Kill, chief executive, Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said: ‘The NTIA warmly welcomes the announcement last week by the Government that £1.57bn will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations. But we are keen to gain assurances from DCMS and Government that dance music venues and nightclubs will be eligible to apply for the funding and that it will not be reserved purely for venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the West End. The UK is home to a rich and diverse range of institutions, all of whom should be fairly entitled to this investment.’
Greg Marshall, general manager, Association For Electronic Music (AFEM), said: ‘Nightclubs and festivals are the beating heart of the UK dance scene; providing collective joy to millions of fans each year, providing employment and incomes for an interdependent network of hundreds of thousands of people, while contributing hundreds of millions to the economy. We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture, and ensure fair & equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector.’
Nick Sabine, co-founder and chief executive, Resident Advisor, said: ‘The UK’s electronic music’s ecosystem is unique and wide ranging, built from a deeply interdependent network of organisations, large and mid-sized companies and thousands of micro-companies, freelancers, contract workers and the self-employed. At the centre of this environment are live events. Without significant government intervention to support nightlife and festival events one of the country’s most important cultural, social and economic sectors will be decimated forever. Looking further ahead, in a post-Brexit UK it is impossible to overstate how important a vibrant nightlife and festival culture will be for Britain to try and maintain a position of international cultural relevance in decades to come.’
If you live in the UK, you can also back the #LetUsDance campaign by writing to your local MP. A draft email template is available on the Night Time Industries Association website.