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Hundreds of acts join online campaign urging Government aid for music industry

Music | Published:

#LetTheMusicPlay called for a coronavirus roadmap for the live music sector.

Crowds at Glastonbury

Hundreds of musicians, including Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Tom Jones, have shared footage from their last live gig to demand Government support for the music industry.

Artists, venues, festivals and production companies used the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay on Thursday, with fans also posting in a show of support.

The campaign comes after 1,500 acts signed an open letter, addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, warning of “mass insolvencies” across the UK’s industry due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sir Tom said: “Being on stage is everything to me, it’s my life! This is why we are raising awareness for much needed government support for the music community. If you love music, you too, can show your support by posting a picture from your last show!”

A message on Sir Paul’s Twitter account said: “Today Paul joins artists, promotors, agents, venues and more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos and videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support!”

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Take That also joined the initiative, with a message on the group’s official Twitter account reading: “Today we stand with the UK music industry; fans, artists, musicians, our tour management, crew and cast, promoters, festivals, venues and more. After years of supporting us, it’s our turn to help support them!”

The band said that “music venues are under threat of closure and the specialised workforces who put on the incredible live shows are facing unemployment”.

Dua Lipa shared a video of herself performing her hit New Rules to a vast crowd, writing: “I miss this so much! I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.”

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The singer said it was “time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the UK music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes”.

Research carried out by Media Insight Consulting in June 2020 and published alongside the letter indicated that the industry supports 210,000 jobs across the country, while venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5 billion to the economy in 2019.

Referencing those figures, rock band Kaiser Chiefs said: “The UK live music sector employs more than 200,000 people.

“Music is great for our mental health and venues serve as cultural hubs for many communities.

“We aren’t asking for a lot. Just a plan and enough money so there’ll be a live music scene to come back to.”

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis, whose festival was cancelled this year, said: “Today, we are joining with promoters, artists, festival goers and music lovers to call on the UK government to offer support to the live industry, which is frankly on its knees and faces being wiped out.”

And girl group Little Mix shared a photo from one of the last shows on their recent LM5 tour, writing: “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.”

Numerous other acts including P!nk, Mumford & Sons, David Gilmour, Blur, Rudimental, Jamie Cullum, Wolf Alice, Disclosure, Dermot Kennedy, Niall Horan and Celine Dion also joined the campaign.

The campaign follows the publication of an open letter calling on Mr Dowden to deliver a three-point strategy for the restarting of the live music sector.

It asks for a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing, a comprehensive business and employment support package, and VAT exemption on ticket sales.

In the joint letter, the artists say: “UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade.

Coronavirus – Sat May 30, 2020
Oliver Dowden (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street/Crown Copyright/PA)

“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.

“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 world-leading industry.”

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.

“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.”

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