The UK dance music and events sector has come together today to issue an urgent plea for help from the UK government in light of the Covid-19 crisis. The #LetUsDance campaign says that dance music and events must be protected and recognised as an important part of the UK’s artistic and cultural landscape.
The campaign is being backed by artists, festivals, nightclubs and industry figures, all of whom say that the dance music sector should receive the same level of support as the wider live music sector.
The government recently announced a £1.57bn package for Britain’s arts and culture sector, but those behind the #LetUsDance campaign say that the narrative to date suggests that allocation of this support does not include nightclubs, dance music events and festivals.
Artists backing the campaign include Adam Beyer, Andy C, Caribou, Charlotte De Witte, Daniel Avery, Eats Everything, Fatboy Slim, Four Tet, Danny Rampling, Irvine Welsh, Maya Jane Coles, Massive Attack, Mistajam, Norman Jay OBE, Pete Tong, Roni Size, Simone Butler (Primal Scream), Thom Yorke.
“Without the dance there’s only the drab and the dark,” says novelist and playwright Irvine Welsh. “We were made to move to the groove. They ought to have started the funding at dance music and worked their way down from there. #letusdance"
DJ/producer Maya Jayne Coles, meanwhile, said: “The UK is renowned internationally for its dance music clubs and festival culture. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have my career. It must get the recognition it deserves and be given an equal opportunity to apply for the Arts & Culture funding, in line with the live music and classic arts sectors.
“This also goes beyond just a love of music; for example, with the LGBTQIA+ family. For many people these are the only spaces where they can be entirely themselves and meet people like themselves without a threat of violence and hate.”
Because they’re unable to operate under the current social distancing measures, it seems that dance festivals, events and nightclubs are unlikely to take place or be open again in the UK for the foreseeable future. The #LetUsDance campaigners say that thousands of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands more to follow this year.
“Until these businesses can operate again, government clarity on the roadmap for reopening safely and access to support for the arts will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the potential demise of this world-leading industry,” says a #LetUsDance press release.
Those in the dance music community - from world-famous DJs to sound engineers, festivals, nightclubs and dance music fans across the industry - are being asked to post photos today (23 July) of the last dance festival, dance event or nightclub they attended under the banner #LetUsDance in a show of support for the UK’s world-leading dance music industry and its contribution to arts and culture.
If you live in the UK, you can also back the #LetUsDance campaign by writing to your local MP. A draft email template is available on the Night Time Industries Association website.