In an attempt to save the live music industry, the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, which saw many big names signed up, including Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Dua Lipa, Skepta, Nick Cave, the Cure, Jamie xx, FKA twigs, J Hus, and more, is calling on the UK government to act amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and provide fast and decisive action to prevent “catastrophic damage” to the live music industry.
The campaign gathered over 1,500 names in UK music, who signed an open letter to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport, which reads: “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.”
Although sectors of the UK economy are reopening from July 4, live venues are still considered high risk and will remain shuttered – and even when they can reopen, it will likely be with social distancing measures and reduced capacities that will make it hard to sustain financially. The industry, as per a research, was worth £4.5 billion to Britain’s economy in 2019 and supports 210,000 jobs, but the core live music industry stands to lose at least £900 million if it remains closed for the rest of 2020.
Below, check out some of the posts by artists and fans who have started uploading films and photos of their last live shows under the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag.
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. #LetTheMusicPlay
(📷 Kevin Parry) pic.twitter.com/SHAwmefq3b
— Emily Eavis (@emilyeavis) July 2, 2020
Emily Eavis, the co-organizer of the annual Glastonbury Festival, added: “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.”
We’re proud to be supporting the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, highlighting the importance of the live music sector to the UK Government. We need to protect our venues, our workforce, and the infrastructure and companies that make up this business. pic.twitter.com/TPHCakvS0l
— New Order (@neworder) July 2, 2020
Today we’re🎸bringing attention To UK’s LIVE MUSIC 🎶Industry.Take a Min & remember The 1st. 🎹Concert You🥁Ever saw,..what it meant 2 you & How it changed 🎶Your Life♥️.Share your PICTURE’S & STORIES,would🎵 love to see & Hear them. 🎼Don’t forget to add #LETTHEMUSICPLAY
— Cher (@cher) July 2, 2020
Dua Lipa also stated: “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.”
There has been a response by Oliver Dowden on Twitter which you can read below.
I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening
I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back
These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 1, 2020
For more, read the full open letter here.