After the UK government's roadmap for live music's return attracted criticism for its lack of provision for urgent funding to the country's beleaguered live music industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1,500 artists have now signed a letter demanding action.
Radiohead, The Cure, Paul McCartney, Dizzee Rascal, Dua Lipa, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Johnny Marr, Liam Gallagher, Rita Ora, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi, Primal Scream, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay are among the names joining the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign that demands immediate government action to avoid "catastrophic damage" to the UK music industry.
Charity The Music Venue Trust has already managed to temporarily save 140 venues through its own crowdfunding but recently led calls for an urgent £50 million cash injection to save UK venues from collapse and protect the country's £5.2 billion per year music industry.
Now over 1,500 artists have joined the fight in an open letter to Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden.
“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,” said Liam Gallagher in support of the campaign.
Here's the letter in full:
“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.”
Artists, festivals and venues are now piling the pressure on the UK government to act by posting video and photos of their last live gigs with the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay and fans are being urged to do the same.