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2 July 2020, 17:28 | Updated: 2 July 2020, 17:30
Numerous pop stars and musicians are backing an open letter calling for support from the government for the UK’s live music industry.
Artists fear the UK’s live music scene is at risk of “mass insolvencies” amid the coronavirus pandemic, with gigs and festivals unlikely to make a return any time soon.
Hundreds of pop stars and musicians have signed an open letter calling for support for the industry, over fears thousands who work behind the scenes at music venues will lose their jobs.
Organisers said there have already been “hundreds of redundancies” across venues, agencies and promoters.
The UK is set to lose five million visitors to its arenas due to Covid-19, with the music industry at risk of losing £900 million if it remains closed for the rest of 2020.
The letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden reads: “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."
The campaign asks three pointers from the government:
- A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing
- An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package
- Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
Due to coronavirus, the live industry is on the verge of collapse, with people losing their jobs and festivals and venues being at risk of closing. It’s time for the government to step up and save the industry #LetTheMusicPlay— Little Mix (@LittleMix) July 2, 2020
Backing the campaign and urging their millions of followers to get involved, a number of artists are sharing the message.
Alongside a photo from their LM5 tour, Little Mix wrote: “This was one of our last shows on LM5: The Tour. This was such an incredible night and would not have been possible without everyone working so hard behind the scenes.
“Due to coronavirus, the live industry is on the verge of collapse, with people losing their jobs and festivals and venues being at risk of closing. It’s time for the government to step up and save the industry #LetTheMusicPlay.”
Dua Lipa also shared a video from one of her many shows, writing: “The industry urgently needs Govt support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals & promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”
The industry urgently needs Govt support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals & promoters are ready and able to operate independently again. #LetTheMusicPlay— DUA LIPA (@DUALIPA) July 2, 2020
Campaign organisers are urging people to write to their local MP about Let the Music Play, ahead of Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak’s Summer Economic Update on 8 July.
In response to the plea, a spokeswoman for the Department of 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 are working closely with them to develop comprehensive guidance for performances and events to return as soon as possible," she added.
Music venues have remained closed since lockdown began March, with no date yet given on when and how they can reopen safely.