British musicians demand help for live music industry

Lawrence Kim
July 3, 2020

Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones were among some 1,500 musicians who called on Thursday for the British government to help the live music business survive the novel coronavirus outbreak. "This is our chance to be heard above all sectors, and to show the vital importance of live music in the United Kingdom".

They cited new research showing that live music added 4.5 billion pound to the British economy and supported 210,000 jobs across the country previous year.

The pandemic led to a wave of live concert cancellations across the United Kingdom, including Glastonbury, All Points East and End of the Road Festival.

The letter called for a clear timeline on when music venues could reopen, as well as support for businesses and jobs.

Among the artists to sign the letter are the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Suzi Quatro, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Nick Mason, The Cure, Radiohead, Eric Clapton, Iron Maiden, Phil Collins, Bring Me The Horizon, Yes, The Darkness, Idles, Steve Hackett, Marillion, Mogwai, Skunk Anansie, Judas Priest, Bullet For My Valentine, Ray Davies, PJ Harvey and Enter Shikari.

Campaign organisers Concert Promoters Association state that with no end in sight for social distancing, and a lack of a credible plan to reintroduce live music, up to 50% of the live music industry's workforce is facing unemployment, and 90% of grassroots venues under the threat of closure if action isn't taken to protect them.

After naming British acts, including The Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie, and George Michael among her favourite live performers, the star added: "Sonny and my career couldn't have happened without UK's Live Music Industry".

Coronavirus
London’s O2 arena was among the venues to close

The letter was accompanied by a Twitter campaign with bands, fans and production companies posting films and photographs of their last gigs under the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay.

Fans are also encouraged to post about the last gig they attended in a show of support. "Proud " to be able to occur at all levels, from small clubs to the big speakers through the festivals, the singer Dua Lipa has noted in a press release that the possibility that other artists of great britain "follow the same path is in danger " without the help of the government.

The #LetTheMusicPlay campaign aims to "show the vital importance of the UK's live music industry, ensure the government can not ignore live music and make noise to get the public and financial support the industry needs to survive". "If the government doesn't step up and support the British arts we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever".

A Government spokeswoman said: "We are already providing unprecedented financial assistance which many music organisations and artists have taken advantage of such as loans and the job retention scheme and we continue to look at additional support we can provide the industry".

"Addressed directly to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, the open letter says: "(The) government has addressed two important British pastimes - football and pubs - and it's now crucial that it focuses on a third, live music.

"We recognize that this pandemic has created major challenges for the sector and are working closely with them to develop comprehensive guidance for performances and events to return as soon as possible".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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