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Let us dance, says UK electronic music sector

Artists and leading figures from the UK’s dance sector have called on the government for support, arguing electronic music should be included in arts and culture funding

By IQ on 23 Jul 2020

Let us dance, says UK electronic music sector

#LetUsDance: Nightclubs such as Printworks in London are "the beating heart of the UK dance scene"

Some of the most prominent artists from the UK’s dance music sector have joined forces with festivals, nightclubs and industry figures to issue an urgent plea for support from the government.

The #LetUsDance campaign urges the government to recognise dance music clubs and events as an important part of the nation’s art and culture in parity with the wider live music sector, to ensure equal access to support.

The campaign also encourages fans, artists and industry professionals to post a photo from a recent club night or dance festival, along with the #LetUsDance hashtag, with a note supporting its place within arts and culture. Supporters can also send a letter to their local MP to emphasise the importance of the sector.

The call for support comes following the live music industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, which preceded the announcement of a £1.57 billion support package for Britain’s arts and culture sector.

However, the government narrative to-date on the allocation of this support has been unclear, and appears not to include nightclubs, dance music events and festivals.

The Night Time Industries Association states it is “keen to gain assurances from government that dance music venues and nightclubs will be eligible to apply for the funding”, fearing it may “be reserved purely for venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the West End”.

“We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture, and ensure fair and equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector”

The campaign is supported by artists including Fatboy Slim, Massive Attack, Thom Yorke, Simone Butler of Primal Scream, Caribou, Four Tet, Norman Jay OBE, Daniel Avery, Charlotte de Witte, Pete Tong and Andy C.

“Nightclubs and festivals are the beating heart of the UK dance scene; providing collective joy to millions of fans each year, providing employment and incomes for an interdependent network of hundreds of thousands of people, while contributing hundreds of millions to the economy,” says Greg Marshall, general manager of the Association for Electronic Music (Afem).

“We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture, and ensure fair and equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector.”

Sacha Lord, founder of the Warehouse Project club nights and nightlife advisor for Greater Manchester says he is “astounded and confused” that the government’s arts rescue package does not include the UK dance music industry.

“There has always been an elitist snobbery towards electronic and dance music, however, I would argue that this sector reaches more people in terms of culture, as some of our theatres do,” says Lord.

“I call out the government, not only to recognise this part of the industry, but also put in place guidance and support to protect our venues, festivals, artists, freelancers, and supply chain. That is why today, I’m fully backing the #LetUsDance Campaign.”

There are over 1,600 nightclubs across the UK, which play a significant role in supporting the wider night-time economy that generates £66bn in revenue per year (6% of the UK’s total).


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