Stars back plea to support UK live music industry

Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa and Sir Paul McCartney are among 1500 artists who have signed an open letter calling for support for the UK’s live music scene.

Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones and Coldplay also signed the letter to the culture secretary warning of the impact of COVID19 on venues and musicians.

It says the music industry faces “mass insolvencies”, with gigs and festivals unlikely to return until 2021.

The organisers said there had already been “hundreds of redundancies”.

Job losses have been reported across venues, agencies and promoters, they said.

The letter to Oliver Dowden says: “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.”

It calls for a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing, as well as financial support and a VAT exemption on ticket sales.

Eric Clapton, Beverley Knight, Little Mix and Skepta are among the other stars to have added their names to the campaign, entitled Let The Music Play.

In an accompanying statement, Dua Lipa said she was proud to have worked her way up through small clubs, theatres, arenas and festivals.

She said “But the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much needed government support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals and promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”

Liam Gallagher added: “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.”

In response, a spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the government was “already providing unprecedented financial assistance which many music organisations and artists have taken advantage of”, pointing to loans and the job retention scheme.

“We recognise that this pandemic has created major challenges for the sector and we are working closely with them to develop comprehensive guidance for performances and events to return as soon as possible”, she said.

Research carried out by Media Insight Consulting and published alongside the open letter suggested the UK music industry contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy in 2019 and supported 210.000 jobs, across a range of different professions.

Source: BBC