Franz Ferdinand, Lewis Capaldi and Primal Scream are among 1,500 musicians who have called upon the government to save the UK’s live music scene.
They join other big names such as Ed Sheeran, Radiohead, The Cure, Rita Ora, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Dizzee Rascal, Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay, in signing an open letter demanding action in assisting those working in the live music industry following the coronavirus crisis.
The new campaign follows The Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign in April which saw a host of acts play an online fundraiser in aid of small clubs and promoters.
The letter, which was addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, appeals for sector-specific support. Stating that the future is “bleak”, and the note points out that “U.K. live music has been one of the U.K.’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade.”
Pointing out that with neither an end to social distancing on the horizon or any sort of financial support yet agreed, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies.
It calls for a clear timetable for reopening venues without social distancing, and for a financial rescue package that would provide VAT exemption on ticket sales.
Referenced by the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag, artists are posting films and images of their last live gigs before lockdown, and fans are similarly being encouraged to post about the last gig they attended in a show of support.
The full text of the letter to the Culture Secretary reads as follows:
“Dear Secretary of State,
“UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. From world-famous festivals to ground-breaking concerts, the live music industry showcases, supports, and develops some of the best talent in the world – on and off-stage.
“As important as it is, our national and regional contribution isn’t purely cultural. Our economic impact is also significant, with live music adding £4.5billion to the British economy and supporting 210,000 jobs across the country in 2019.
“Like every part of the entertainment industry, live music has been proud to play our part in the national effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and keep people safe. 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.
“This sector doesn’t want to ask for government help. The promoters, festival organisers, and other employers want to be self-sufficient, as they were before lockdown. But, 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 great world-leading industry.
“Government has addressed two important British pastimes – football and pubs – and it’s now crucial that it focuses on a third, live music. For the good of the economy, the careers of emerging British artists, and the UK’s global music standing, we must ensure that a live music industry remains when the pandemic has finally passed.”