Paul McCartney, Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa and more are among 1,500 artists who have signed an open letter calling for support for the UK’s live music scene. Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones and Coldplay also signed the letter to the culture secretary warning of the impact of Covid-19 on venues and musicians.
It says the music industry faces “mass insolvencies”, with gigs and festivals unlikely to return until 2021.
The organisers said there had already been “hundreds of redundancies”. Job losses have been reported across venues, agencies and promoters, they said.
The letter to Oliver Dowden reads: “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.”
It calls for a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing, as well as financial support and a VAT exemption on ticket sales.
Image caption Skepta was also among the signatories
Eric Clapton, Beverley Knight, Little Mix and Skepta are among the other stars to have added their names to the campaign, entitled Let the Music Play.
In response, a spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said the government was “already providing unprecedented financial assistance which many music organisations and artists have taken advantage of”, pointing to loans and the job retention scheme: “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,” she said.
Music venues have been closed since mid-March, and the government has not given a date for the return of live performances.
Writing on Twitter, the culture secretary said he was looking to provide the music industry with a “clear roadmap back” and fixed dates for when venues could reopen.
Mr Dowden added: “These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives.”
Research carried out by Media Insight Consulting and published alongside the open letter suggested the UK music industry contributed £4.5bn to the UK economy in 2019 and supported 210,000 jobs, across a range of different professions.
Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, said: “When people think about Britishness I hope that they’re talking these days about Stormzy through to the Beatles.”People kind of assume it is a just a self-fulfilling industry that doesn’t really need much help – rock and grime and pop – but actually it needs help sometimes and right now it really does.”