A new campaign called #LetTheMusicPlay has been launched today, calling on the UK government to help safeguard our vital live music industry in these unprecedented times, with venues unable to stage live shows and tours cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Stars from the UK’s live music sector, alongside thousands of crew and venues, have issued an urgent plea for support from the UK Government during what would have been the UK’s world-famous festival season.
The appeal, made in a letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport,
Oliver Dowden, is signed by 1,500 artists, many of whom were due to perform at festivals
this summer, including Glastonbury, Leeds, Reading, Kendal Calling, Green Man, Latitude,
All Points East, Parklife, TRNSMT, and hundreds more across the country.
Thousands of other people vital to the success of the industry have also added their names.
The call to government comes as new research commissioned by the industry demonstrates
the vital economic contribution of the live music sector. As well as supporting 210,000 jobs across the country, venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5bn to the economy in 2019.
But, because they’re unable to operate with any level of social distancing, concerts and
festivals are unlikely to take place again in the UK until 2021 at the earliest. Many hundreds of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year.
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. 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-
To coincide with the letter, hundreds of artists, venues, concerts, festivals, production companies and other people across the industry will today begin posting films and photos of their last live gig under the banner #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to, all in a mass show of support for the UK’s world-leading live music industry during its shutdown. Sign the petition and find out more here: https://concertpromotersassociation.co.uk/let-the-music-play/
By head of population, the UK is the second biggest live music market in the world. But,
despite the global influence and economic importance of British live music, government
support for the sector continues to lag behind other countries. The German government
recently announced €150m in financial support for live music as part of a €50bn package of
Dua Lipa said: “It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the UK. From the very start playing live concerts up and down the country has been a cornerstone for my own career. I am proud to have had the chance to
play through all the levels … small clubs, then theatres and ballrooms and into arenas, and
of course festivals in between each touring cycle. 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.”
Beverley Knight said: “Alongside my love of music and theatre is my love of Wolverhampton Wanderers. We now need to see the same energy and ambition that brought football back applied to live music and theatre because, if not, the impact on the industry is going to be devastating and some elements may never come back.”
Emily Eavis, Glastonbury organiser, said: “The UK’s venues, festivals, performers and
crew bring so much to this country’s culture and economy, but they are now facing
desperate financial challenges. If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.”
Phil Bowdery, Chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association, said: “July would
normally see the UK embarking on a world-famous summer of live music, but this year the lights are switched off and the microphones unplugged. Live music has sought to play its role in helping tackle Coronavirus, with many artists providing entertainment for people from
their homes. But our shut down is likely to go on for much longer than most with many
concerts and festivals unable to operate until 2021 at the earliest. Without rapid government
support, the long-term impact will be devastating, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and billions of pounds from the UK economy.”
Data shows that the biggest economic impact from the live music shutdown is likely to be felt
regionally, where concerts and festivals have been proven to bring huge benefits.
• One sell-out full capacity night of live music in Birmingham would generate £3m for
the local economy.
• The Great Escape festival in Brighton generates £16 million worth of business for
artists, managers, songwriters, producers and production services.
• TRNSMT festival in Glasgow generates a local economic impact of £10 million.
• Glastonbury Festival generates more than £100m a year for local businesses and
• Belladrum Festival in Inverness, Scotland’s biggest camping festival, contributes
£5million each year to local economy.
• Ed Sheeran’s four shows at Chantry Park in 2019 boosted the Ipswich economy by
Because of the complex challenges the live music industry faces, it will be one of the last
sectors to reopen. As other parts of the economy start to reopen, the live music industry is
calling on the Government to provide vital sector-specific support, including:
1. A clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing.
2. A comprehensive business and employment support package and access to
3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
The business and employment support package should include: a government-backed
insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and
help for the self-employed to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow
them to reopen; an extension of business rate relief to the entire live music supply chain to
protect our ecosystem; rolling-over fees for single premises event licences for festivals; and financial support for lost box office income.
Its vital the government steps up with funds to protect the music industry and produces a workable roadmap for venues so that they can reopen when it’s safe to do so. To protect the work of good promoters , talented artists, tireless crew.
To protect jobs and to safeguard the musical and cultural fabric of our country that brings in over 5 billion for the economy every year. That provides talent and friendship and community. Act before it’s too late!