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Highlights from #LetTheMusicPlay campaign

The campaign to support the UK’s live industry trended top of Twitter worldwide. With 1,500 artists backing it, IQ rounded up highlights from the day

By IQ on 02 Jul 2020

Live reactions as day of action for live music unfolds


The UK music industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign kicked off in force today, with the hashtag becoming the top trending in the UK – and worldwide – during the day and almost 80,000 people posting under the tag on Instagram.

With the backing of over 1,500 of live’s best talent – including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney and Iron Maiden – the effort aimed to highlight the urgent need for government support to sustain the valuable industry through the coronavirus crisis.

Famous venues and buildings including the O2 Arena, the SSE Hydro, the Roundhouse, the Royal Albert Hall and Electric Brixton were illuminated last night (1 July) with the slogan #LetTheMusicPlay, ahead of the main push which saw artists, fans, industry figures and politicians take to social media in droves to post photos of their last live show and show support for the business.

In addition to the social media campaign, a letter was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, signed by artists and industry professionals, laying out the necessary support measures.

IQ collated some of the best quotes, photos, videos and reactions live throughout the day…


MP Kevin Brennan says he raised #LetTheMusicPlay at business questions “with a hint of Jackson Browne ‘A roadmap will get you nowhere when you’re running on empty’”.

Brennan challenges the culture secretaru to do more and urges “substantial, not just minor support” from the chancellor next week.

Spice Girls recall their latest tour Spice World 2019, saying “it wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing band, dancers and incredible touring team.”

South African DJ Black Coffee simply posts “Itching to get back to my happy place”. The DJ is among those performing at Exit Festival this summer – perhaps the only major European festival to take place this year.


Electronic artist Four Tet posts a video of performing at Manchester’s Warehouse Project last year.

“UK live music scene is in deep trouble right now and urgently needs support from the government,” writes Four Tet, real name Kieran Hebden. “We will lose so many venues and the crew and production teams etc that make everything possible need support.”

The Chemical Brothers share a photo from their last show at the O2 Arena in November, saying they stand with artists, promoters, agents and venues “in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry”.

Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord shares his support for the campaign, along with Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project. 

UK venues including Alexandra Palace, the Roundhouse,the Royal Albert Hall, the O2 Arena, P&J Live, the SSE Hydro, O2 Academy Brixton, Manchester Arena, Motor Point Arena Cardiff, Sneaky Pete’s and many, many more share their support throughout the day.

Joy Crookes warns that 90% of grassroots venues face closure and 50% of live industry professionals risk unemployment without support.

Bombay Bicycle Club share a photo of one of their last shows at London’s Alexandra Palace in February.

“The past few months have been a hugely difficult time for all, including everyone involved in the live music industry,” writes the band. “It’s critical the industry gets financial support from the government until shows can happen again.”

Academy Music Group shows its support, sharing photos of illuminated O2 Academy venues and saying “today the UK music industry stands together to urge UK Government to protect live music, our venues, touring artists and the huge workforce behind the scenes in the entertainment sector.”

Presenter and singer Hrvy took to Instagram to call for government support. “Festivals and live shows bring so much happiness to so many people including myself, we need save the jobs of these incredibly hardworking people behind the scenes.”


The Rattlesnakes say: “Touring is a huge part of what we do, no feeling like it. The government must step up and protect venues, festivals and the workforce.”

Jon Hopkins calls for urgent government action “to save grassroots venues and the future of live music”.

Celine Dion posts a selection of photos with the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag, saying “we had so much fun on London last July! What an incredible experience.”


James Arthur posts a photo of his last show before lockdown. “Performing is what I love the most about being a musician,” says Arthur, “so let’s make sure we support the live industry at this challenging time.”


“When you go to see your favourite band, you might not realise how many people are working hard behind the scenes to make the show happen,” write Bastille. “The future of live music is at risk as a result of Covid-19.

“This uncertainty is felt by the entire industry, and affects everyone from the venue staff, to the sound technicians, to the people who go out on the road with artists. The government must step up to help.”

Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson shares a photo from his last show in Madrid, just before the coronavirus shutdown in March and the rest of the tour was cancelled.

“We came home early, which was devastating,” writes Tomlinson. “The live music industry is such an important part of being an artist and today is about coming together to ask the UK government to protect and support all of the hard working and talented people who come together to create these shows, and give a clear plan of how the live music industry will restart.

“I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my amazing tour team and everyone that works behind the scenes to bring shows to life.”


“Imagine the music industry in the UK being wiped out,” writes Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis. “No shows, no festivals, no venues. Call on the government for urgent action.”

Blossoms say they “join together with fellow artists, managers, promoters, agents, venues and everyone that works in music to call for action to help protect the live music industry.”

Electronic duo Disclosure ask the government to “protect venues, festivals and the workforce now.”

“Playing shows is a huge part of what we do. Live music has played a huge part in shaping us both individually & as Disclosure.”

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray simply posts: “This year has been devastating”.

“We need support and action. We need to save venues, and to save people’s livelihoods,” writes Fray.

“…And to give you some good nights out again.”

Amen to that.

Blaine Harrison of Mystery Jets puts the current situation into stark reality writing: “This is our first summer without festivals in 15 years.”

“Live music makes us all feel less alone and allows us to forget our problems. It’s our soul food,”says Harrison. “But without urgent government support there will be no industry for us to come back to.

“We cannot allow it.”

#LetTheMusicPlay becomes the highest trending hashtag on Twitter worldwide (vying for first place with #GhislaineMaxwell). The hashtag has dominated trends in the UK throughout the day.

“Usually about now the bands would begin loading in their equipment to the venue,” writes the Association of Independent Promoters. “For bigger shows this happens early in the morning but for many shows the mid-afternoon is when the venue comes to life.”

Radio presenter Bob Harris OBE calls on the UK government to “offer support to our amazing libe music scene and all promoters, venues, agents and artists.”

“We need live music,” posts Harris. “It simply won’t be there anymore if we don’t act.”

“It’s a big day for the British music industry,” write Mumford & Sons, and we’d love to stand with our fellow artists, fans, and the incredible people behind the scenes who make live music come alive.

“Together we call on the government to offer the industry support in these difficult times.”

“Music brings so much to us all,” says music industry charity Help Musicians. “This secotr needs more support now.”

Depeche Mode join in the call, posting a photo from a show at Berlin’s Waldbühne in July 2018.

“From the biggest arenas to the smallest independent festival or venue, the live music business supports 210k jobs – but is in serious crisis!” writes the National Arenas Association (NAA).

“We need urgent government support to survive.”

Franz Ferdinand says it is “a long road out of this” but urges everyone to “help jumpstart the conversation and secure the government’s support”.

“To the cries of “multi-millionaire ‘stars’ should put their hands in their own pockets” – what we are asking is that government recognises that live music is as important to British people as sport,” writes KT Tunstall.

“The numbers say that it is.”

Dua Lipa expresses gratitude for the opportunities she has had. “Now it’s time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the UK music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes.

“The possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path [I did] is in danger and the livelihoods of those who work behind the scenes are at risk.

“The industry urgently needs Govt support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals & promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”

Captioning a video of a festival performance, Lipa simply says “I miss this so much!”

London night czar Amy Lamé shows her support with a photo of post-punk band Warmduscher performing at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.

“Live music unites us and lifts our spirits,” post Mystery Jets. “But without immediate action there will be no venues or festivals to come back to.”

Fatboy Slim lends his support, highlighting that 50% of the live music industry workforce is facding unemployment without government support.

Singer KT Tunstall does an interview with Sky News outlining the unrealistic nature of social distancing rules for the vast majority of smaller venues.

More UK festivals, including Creamfields, Boomtown Fair, End of the Road FestivalBritish Summer Time Hyde Park and All Points East add their voices to the call for action.

Dido asks fans to join in and ask the government to support the live industry by posting a photo or video of pre-lockdown shows. The singer shares a video of her performance at the Hammersmith Apollo in December.

“Today, we stand with the UK music industry, highlighting to the Government importance of grassroots venues, and the workforce that goes towards keeping the live music alive at all levels,” write the Script.

Muse say the government “must step up and show the industry the support it deserves”.

“We’re so grateful for the experience that live music gives us all.”

Hot Chip write that “the entire sector is under threat” and ask the government to “act now to help save it”.

David Gilmour and the rest of Pink Floyd share photos from a 2016 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall to show their support for the live music industry.


Take That thank the support they have received from tour management, crew, promoters, festivals, vneues and others over the years.

“After years of supporting us, it’s our turn to help support them!” says the band.

Simone Marie Butler of Primal Scream, who is speaking to radio stations including BBC News, BBC 5 Live and RadioX about the campaign today, says: “Music is part of our cultural heritage. It’s part of human connection. Let’s also remember the music industry is one of our biggest income revenues and exports.

“With that being said, we simply cannot afford to let the live industry go under.”

The Primal Scream bassist has previously stressed the need for “urgent help” if the live music industry is “to survive and thrive” in the coming year, as well as the unviability of reopening the sector with capacity reduction measures in place.

With the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag trending top on Twitter, Butler encourages all to keep the momentum going.

Frank Turner highlights the importance of touring to the UK music scene. “With the landscape for gigs post-pandemic looking uncertain, we must urge the government to protect venues, festivals & the live industry’s incredible workforce,” writes Turner.

Noel Gallagher writes that “live music must be protected!” The Manchester singer shares a photo from a shpow at the DC Arena in Bangkok on 30 November and issues the plea: “Let’s make sure the message is heard by the UK Government.”

Lionel Richie says he is joining artists and fans in the UK to “bring attention to the hardships the live music industry is facing there, and around the world”.

“The UK is home to some of the most vibrant music festivals and venues in the world,” says Richie, urging people to raise awareness by positing a photo or video.


Alongside the 1,500 artists, thousands of crew, industry professionals and venues have signed the letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden. Sign up here.

UK festivals including Reading and Leeds festivals, TramlinesY Not Festival, Latitude, DownloadTrnsmt, Green Man Festival, Truck FestivalKendal Calling, Bluedot,  Wireless,  Isle of Wight, The Great Escape, Camp Bestival, Glastonbury Festival and many, many more show their support for the campaign.

Former One Direction star Niall Horan writes a detailed post in gratitude of the “incredible hardworking teams behind the scenes” that make live gigs and festivals happen.

“Last year the UK’s live music industry added £4.5bn to the economy and supported 200k jobs across the country,” writes Horan. “Until we can get back to doing what we love, it’s important we speak up and demand government support for all of the various venues, festivals and promoters.

“We must stick together through this. Share a photo from your last show and let’s get their attention.”

Blur shows solidarity with “fellow artists, road crew, promoters, venues, agents and all other talented people who keep the live music industry alive”.


Ticketmaster UK says it stands with the rest of the live industry “in a collective call for action” and encourages fans to share photos and videos of their last live show.

“We aren’t asking for venues to reopen or for festivals to go ahead while it isn’t safe, but we are asking for immediate support from the government and a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues,” post Idles, urging all those who “love live music” to share a photo.


Snow Patrol urge fans to share videos and photos of their favourite or last gig, saying the the UK music industry is “struggling massively”, with 50% of the workforce facing unemployment. The band share a photo from their last show, at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Status Quo share a video from their BBC Radio 2 show at London’s Hyde Park last year.

Joining a number of politicians to show support for the campaign, Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, urges chancellor Rishi Sunak and culture minister Oliver Dowden to take actions saying “the government can’t continue to sit idle.”

A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.

The Music Venue Trust share a campaign video, showcasing the many grassroots venues around the UK and highlighting their struggle in the face of Covid-19.

Litte Mix warn that the live industry is “on the verge of collapse”, with festivals and venues at risk of closure and many jobs hanging in the balance. “It’s time for the government ro step up and save the industry,” write the girl group, posting aphot from one of their last shows from LM5: The Tour. 

Iron Maiden highlight the importance of grassroots venues for developing top artists.

“Every band has to start somewhere (in time), & Iron Maiden were no exception,” reads a post on the band’s Twitter page. “90% of the UK’s grassroots music venues are under threat of closure due to Covid-19.

“Please show your support for live music & share a photo/video from the last gig you went to, tagging #LetTheMusicPlay.”

Paul McCartney’s Twitter reads: “Today Paul joins artists, promotors, agents, venues and more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos and videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support!”

Editors highlight the size of the problem facing the live industry in numbers.

The Rolling Stones share a photo of the setlist from their last show, which took place in Miami in 2019.

New Order express their “proud” support for the campaign and stress the need to protect the workforce and infrastructure making up the music industry.

Coldplay share photos and videos from their last pre-lockdown shows at the National History Museum in London last year.

In an emoji-packed Tweet, Cher urged everyone to remember their first concert experience and reflect on what it meant to them. The singer also expressed gratitude to the UK industry in particular on behalf of her and Sonny, saying England “got us” before anyone else did.

Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis joined the call for government support saying the UK live industry “is frankly on its knees and faces being wiped out”.

Politicans have also taken note of the campaign. A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who will later receive a letter laying out the long-term damage, economic loss and job cuts that can be expected if urgent measures are not taken, along with the specific support that need to be given, addressed concerns on Twitter last night.

Just as the campaigm breaks late last night, Dowden posted saying: “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.”

Tom Watson, chair of umbrella body UK Music shares photos from a Nadine Shah show at London’s Moth Club and stresses the dangers facing summer festivals, which support around 85,000 jobs.

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