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Dutch events sector joins Belgium’s Sound of Silence

The Dutch live business has announced it will participate in Belgium’s Sound of Silence campaign, which went viral at the beginning of August.

The initiative saw swathes of Belgians denounce the government for the lack of support in the culture and events sector by changing their profile pictures to an orange “Sound of Silence” cross and tweet with the hashtag #SoundOfSilence.

The campaign was launched on 10 August as the country’s newly formed Live Sector Consultation warned in an open letter that tens of millions of euros are needed to prevent the collapse of the €1bn Belgian live music industry.

Jolanda Jansen, director of Dutch arena Rotterdam Ahoy, and spokesperson on behalf of the alliance says, “The coronavirus and its impact are transnational. Many initiatives are also emerging in the Netherlands and we are also feeling increasing pressure to take action. You can reinvent the wheel, but collaboration is exactly what we want with the alliance; the Low Countries are joining forces. ”

The Dutch campaign is being spearheaded by the Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers), a new umbrella organisation comprising promoters’ association VVEM, festival/venues body VNPF and other industry bodies.

As well as Sound of Silence, The Netherlands are also taking note from Germany’s initiative, Night of Live, which will see music-related buildings illuminated in red on 25 August.

“Many initiatives are also emerging in the Netherlands and we are also feeling increasing pressure to take action”

“If we don’t take action, we will face a wave of bankruptcies. The colour red represents the love for and fraternization of the event industry, the red list of endangered industries and red alarm,” says Stijn Oude Vrielink, owner of Venue Marketing, who initiated the campaign.

“This campaign was so successful that I wanted to organize something similar for the Netherlands,” says Oude Vrielink. “We started preparations a month ago and we went live this week. Everyone is very enthusiastic.”

The Netherlands relaxed its coronavirus regulations from 1 July, removing the capacity limit for seated indoor and outdoor events, provided fans have undergone health checks before entry.

The capacity limit for events that do not undertake health checks increased to 100 for indoor venues and 250 for outdoor shows from 1 July, while festivals in the Netherlands have to obtain licences from local authorities before being able to resume.

Nightclubs and discos remain closed until 1 September – which was the original deadline for the ban on large-scale events. The rules for clubs and similar venues will be reassessed at the end of August.

Intiatives similar to Sound of Silence have launched throughout Europe including the UK’s #WeMakeEvents campaign, which was organised by the Professional Lighting & Sound Association (Plasa) to raise awareness surrounding the struggling freelancers who work across the live events and entertainment sector.

The campaign followed on from the UK’s initial call-to-arms, Let the Music Play, which launched a social media campaign and a letter laying out the necessary support measures, signed by artists and industry professionals, which was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

 


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UK music sector reacts to newly permitted events

Socially distanced live indoor performances will be able to resume in England from Saturday, as the government eases lockdown measures.

The relaxed measures signal Stage 4 of the government’s five-stage roadmap for the return of live performance, which was announced on 17 July and delayed from 1 August until tomorrow.

Though the date for reopening will bring some relief to the UK’s music sector, a number of industry bodies have expressed scepticism about the economic viability of live music returning.

“Unfortunately, it remains the case that the vast majority of grassroots music venue members of the Music Venues Alliance are not financially able, or even have an appropriate layout in the physical premises, to deliver these newly permitted events,” says Mark Davyd from the UK’s Music Venue Trust.

“Those that can make social distancing work will be unlikely to be able to stage government compliant events with this much notice but will be relieved to finally be able to open their doors in the coming weeks.

“However, despite the challenges the announcement presents, we broadly welcome this progress towards the return of live music. If gigs are going to return in stages, which is the government plan, then we have reached Stage 4 of that plan and can begin to imagine that Stage 5, real gigs at venues, might be achievable in the foreseeable future,” concludes Davyd.

“It remains extraordinarily difficult to resume events and gigs in an economically viable way”

Michael Kill, CEO of Night Time Industries Association says: “While we welcome the government’s announcement of the further easing of lockdown measures, this is still a long way off being back to normal for many businesses in the night time economy and events sector.”

“While some bars and restaurants have been able to open with a limited capacity, many are only just breaking even and we expect live music venues and performance spaces to have similar issues with viability, only able to accommodate for limited numbers under the current government social distancing measures.

“We still have many questions with regard to the operational conditions for opening these businesses, but would urge the government to consider a more robust communication strategy with a realistic timeframe to allow businesses the opportunity to prepare for opening,” says Kill.

Acting CEO of campaigning and lobbying group UK Music, Tom Kiehl, says: “Further easing of lockdown for live performance is a symbolic moment, yet it remains extraordinarily difficult to resume events and gigs in an economically viable way.”

“The government must ensure support measures for all aspects of the sector – including venues, festivals, musicians, performers and crew – are in place while many individuals and businesses in the sector still cannot get back to work.”

“We still have many questions with regard to the operational conditions for opening these businesses”

The UK’s live music sector has organised a number of campaigns, including #LetTheMusicPlay and #WeMakeEvents, which called for government support in various areas of the industry.

Though the initiatives were successful in prompting the government to unveil a £1.57bn package of grants and loans for music and arts organisations, the industry needs more government support to sustain the live industry’s broader ecosystem.

Industry bodies are calling for a multi-year extension of the cultural VAT rate reduction beyond January in line with DCMS’s recent recommendations and a government-backed reinsurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead.

Also as part of this weekend’s easing of lockdown, the government is enforcing tougher measures including a clampdown on illegal gatherings of more than 30 people, which could see those responsible hit with spot fines of up to £10,000.

The government’s previous restrictions on concerts were met with a rise in Britons attending illegal, non-socially distanced “quarantine raves” in woodland near cities including ManchesterLeedsLiverpoolOxford and Lichfield, Staffordshire.

 


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UK gears up for #LetTheMusicPlay round 2

A month after round one helped spur the British government into action, the UK music industry will tomorrow (4 August) again unite for #LetTheMusicPlay, spotlighting the plight of live music during the Covid-19 shutdown.

The first #LetTheMusicPlay (LTMP) campaign, which took place on Thursday 2 July, saw thousands of social media profiles – as well as several major music venues – transformed with LTMP branding, with more than 1,500 artists, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and the Rolling Stones, also lending their support.

Of the campaign’s three main demands – a financial support package, a VAT exemption/reduction on ticket sales, and a timeline for reopening venues without social distancing – only the third remains unfulfilled, with the UK government having announced its £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, and then slashed VAT to 5%, in the following weeks.

However, even socially distanced – ie mostly financially unviable – indoor shows are off limits for at least another two weeks, and the industry is still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus: an estimated 60% of live music jobs are at risk, and 50% of businesses supplying services to the industry only have liquidity for another four months.

With details of the Culture Recovery Fund, including eligibility for live music businesses, now known, organisers of LTMP are calling on supporters to again take to social media to highlight the difficulties faced by the first-to-close, last-to-reopen concert industry.

“#LetTheMusicPlay aims to highlight that the broader ecosystem of the live music business remains in crisis”

For #LetTheMusicPlay round two, participants are asked to post an end of tour or event crew photo – or a photo of them and their ‘crew’ – with the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay, from midnight tonight.

A range of pre-made social media graphics are also available to download here.

“Venues and events are still unable to fully open, and so the industry still faces a cliff edge of redundancies,” says Phil Bowdery, chair of the Concert Promoters’ Association.

“The measures that we’ve seen from government over the past few weeks are hugely welcome, but we still need a date to reopen, and a scheme to insure shows so that they can go ahead.

“The second round of #LetTheMusicPlay aims to highlight that the broader ecosystem of the live music business remains in crisis.”

 


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UK government slashes VAT on concerts

The British government has announced that value-added tax (VAT) levied on concert and event tickets will be reduced to 5% from next week.

A cut in VAT was one of three main demands of last week’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, along with a financial support package and a timeline with reopening music venues without social distancing. Following the announcement of on Sunday of a £1.57 billion aid package for the cultural sector, only the call for a confirmed date for reopening remains unfulfilled.

The VAT cut was announced late yesterday (8 July) by culture minister Oliver Dowden, following a ‘mini-budget’ that afternoon by chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak. According to Dowden, the reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% will apply to concerts, theatre shows, exhibitions, circuses and other “attractions”.

The reduction will last for six months from 15 July, said Sunak.

As for a timetable on reopening, Dowden says the government will “announce further steps on [the] path to reopening shortly”.

In a statement, the Entertainment Agents’ Association welcomed the VAT reduction but said clarification is needed on where the cut-off point will be. “[A]s we can’t open any [venues] at the moment, we need to know if this applies to tickets bought before the end of Jan for events in 2021,” the association says.

Concert Promoters’ Association chair Phil Bowdery comments: “Yesterday’s announcement on the VAT reduction for ticket sales is a significant show of support for our industry from the government and is a sign that they are willing to work with us to find targeted measures to support this vital part of the UK economy. We want to thank the government, and in particular Oliver Dowden and Rishi Sunak, for their support and the confidence they have shown in the iconic UK live music industry.”

“To unlock the potential value this creates, we urgently need some firm commitments to reopening dates”

“We also know there is lots more to do and our industry is not out of the woods yet, and we will continue to work hard with the government to get the support the industry needs over the coming months.”

National Arenas Association chair Lucy Noble adds: “The measures the chancellor announced yesterday include a hugely welcome reduction in VAT from 20% to 5% for various sectors, including tickets for concerts. We are extremely grateful to the chancellor, treasury ministers and DCMS [department for digital, culture, media and sport] for listening to us and for their willingness to consider and implement measures to support the music industry at this critical time.”

“We warmly welcome this sensible intervention into the live music sector, which responds directly to the asks we made of the government for the support we need,” says Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust. “To unlock the potential value this creates, we urgently need some firm commitments to reopening dates and some guidelines that would allow us to get tickets on sale and benefit from this tax cut.”

 


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Industry reacts to €1.7bn UK rescue package

Yesterday evening, the British government announced an unprecedented financial rescue package for the UK’s hard-hit cultural sector, promising £1.57 billion (€1.74bn) in grants and loans for arts and creative businesses to get back on their feet post-Covid-19.

While many of the specifics of the scheme – including eligibility and how much money is allocated to music specifically – have yet to be revealed, the government intervention has been widely welcomed by the live music business, which last Thursday came together for the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign to ask for immediate assistance for the industry.

See below for a selection of quotes from various industry representatives…

 


Phil Bowdery, Concert Promoters’ Association:

“On Thursday the live music industry came together in an unprecedented way to ask the government for support, and so this announcement is both timely and warmly welcomed.

“We asked for three things, and today it looks like the first of those – a financial support package – has been granted. We’re looking forward to clarification that this package safeguards our whole ecosystem – from our artists and crews, to our festivals, venues and many professionals – and working closely with the government to deliver it.

“Everyone who lent their support to the campaign on Thursday should be extremely proud of the impact they’re already having. Now let’s move forward and #LetTheMusicPlay!”

“We’re looking forward to clarification that this package safeguards our whole ecosystem – from our artists and crews, to our festivals, venues and other professionals”

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust:

“Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes this unprecedented intervention into Britain’s world-class live music scene. We’d like to thank the secretary of state and the team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for the opportunity to work closely together throughout this crisis to develop genuine solutions to the challenges faced by grassroots music venues.

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to Reopen Every Venue Safely.”

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues”

Paul Reed, Association of Independent Festivals:

“The AIF has had close contact with DCMS throughout the lockdown period, helping them to understand the needs of UK festivals during this difficult time. We have urged government to offer a robust financial package to the sector to ensure its survival.

“The announcement of emergency support for the arts is clearly welcome but it is worrying that there has still been no specific mention of the UK’s festival industry – a sector that contributes so much to the economy and people’s lives, and one that finds itself in a uniquely precarious position during this pandemic.

“The time for lip service is over. UK festivals have, to date, largely fallen through the cracks when it comes to financial aid and business support. Boris Johnson has told parliament that he is doing all he can to support our ‘very, very valuable sector’ but we are yet to see evidence of that. We need the prime minister to back this up with meaningful action and confirm that festival organisers will be eligible to access this emergency support package.”

“It is worrying that there has still been no specific mention of the UK’s festival industry – a sector that contributes so much”

Tom Kiehl, UK Music:

“A £1.57bn support package for the arts is a huge step forward and should be a lifesaver for many music venues. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden, chancellor Rishi Sunak and DCMS minister Caroline Dinenage are to be warmly congratulated.

“The music industry was one of the first sectors to be hit by measures to tackle COVID-19. UK Music has long called for sector-specific support to ensure live music can recover. Eligibility for grants and loans must be as broad as possible to ensure maximum take-up from across the industry from those in desperate need of help.

“Those that don’t have a track record of public funding must also not be put at a disadvantage. We are seeking urgent talks with Arts Council England to discuss further.”

“Those that don’t have a track record of public funding must not be put at a disadvantage”

Annabella Coldrick, Music Managers Forum:

“After months of discussions, meetings and advocacy, culminating in the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign last Thursday, it feels that government has accepted the importance of art and culture to our society and economy. Obviously £1.57bn is a substantial sum of money, but we still need to see the full details of this package and how it will be allocated to reach those most in need.

“It is absolutely essential that funding stretches beyond cultural institutions and can equally benefit artists and their teams around the UK, many of whom have fallen through gaps in support, despite seeing a complete collapse in their live income.”

“It is absolutely essential that funding stretches beyond cultural institutions and can equally benefit artists and their teams”

Michael Kill, Night Time Industries Association:

“This is an unprecedented commitment from the government and [this] long-awaited financial support reflects the importance of the sector to the UK and internationally.

“With many neighbouring European countries investing heavily in the culture and arts sector, the UK government had been under mounting pressure to mimic the actions of their international counterparts.

“We will await further details of the announcement in the coming days to gain a greater understanding of the businesses which will benefit from this investment. We hope it will also include the vital supply chain businesses which are fundamental to the creative and cultural sector, of which the night-time economy businesses are very much a big part of.

“We also look forward to receiving updated guidance with regard to the phased return of the night-time economy sectors.”

“We hope this investment will include the vital supply chain businesses which are fundamental to the sector”

Caroline Norbury MBE, Creative Industries Federation:

“This unprecedented £1.57 billion investment is a seismic step forward. Our creative industries are teetering on the brink of cultural collapse, and this could be the game-changer we need.

“The voice of the creative sector has been heard loud and clear by the government and we warmly welcome their response.  This investment acknowledges the mission critical role that the UK’s creative industries will play in recovery and growth in all parts of the country.

“However, while this support will rescue many, so much has changed during the pandemic; there won’t necessarily be an easy return to normal. It is particularly heartening to see the reference to supporting freelancers, who are a phenomenally important part of the creative-industries ecosystem.

“But there will be so much more to do to ensure that our world-beating creative sector can thrive once more – and as we move forwards through the challenging days and months ahead, it will be crucial that the creative industries work together to reimagine all of our futures.”

“It is particularly heartening to see the reference to supporting freelancers, who are a phenomenally important part of the ecosystem”

This article will be updated with more reactions as we receive them.

 


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UK announces £1.5bn culture rescue package

The British government today (5 July) announced a rescue package worth £1.57 billion to help the UK’s arts and culture sector weather the impact of the coronavirus.

The measures – which follow Thursday’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign that saw the UK music industry come together to call for immediate government assistance for the live music business – will see emergency grants and loans extended to a range of creative and heritage businesses, including live music and entertainment organisations.

The package, described by HM Treasury as the “biggest-ever one-off investment in UK culture”, includes:

The devolved administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will also receive extra funding, of £33m, £97m and £59m, respectively.

The repayable finance will be issued on “generous terms tailored for cultural institutions” to ensure they are affordable, according to the Treasury.

“Everyone who lent their support to the campaign should be extremely proud of the impact they’re already having”

The government says decisions on funding awards will be made in consultation with “expert independent figures” in each sector, including bodies such as the British Film Institute, Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Announcing the package, culture secretary Oliver Dowden – to whom the #LetTheMusicPlay letter campaign was addressed – describes culture as the “soul of our nation”. “I said we would not let the arts down,” he says, “and this massive investment shows our level of commitment.”

Further details of the scheme will be available when it opens for applications in the coming weeks.

Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery, chair of the UK’s Concert Promoters’ Association, comments: “On Thursday the live music industry came together in an unprecedented way to ask the government for support, and so this announcement is both timely and warmly welcomed.

“We asked for three things, and today it looks like the first of those – a financial support package – has been granted. We’re looking forward to clarification that this package safeguards our whole ecosystem – from our artists and crews, to our festivals, venues and many professionals – and working closely with the government to deliver it.

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues”

“Everyone who lent their support to the campaign on Thursday should be extremely proud of the impact they’re already having. Now let’s move forward and #LetTheMusicPlay!”

In addition to announcing the new funds, the government release says Dowden and his colleagues are “finalising guidance for a phased return of the performing arts sectors”, to be published shortly. “The government is working with the sectors to get it back up and running as soon as it is safe to do so, and is being guided by medical experts,” it reads.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, says the organisation “warmly welcomes this unprecedented intervention into Britain’s world-class live music scene. We’d like to thank the secretary of state and the team at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport for the opportunity to work closely together throughout this crisis to develop genuine solutions to the challenges faced by grassroots music venues.

“This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to Reopen Every Venue Safely.”

He adds: “We’d like to thank everyone in the industry who gave us so much support during this incredibly difficult time, and also thank IQ, who have been a constant source of excellent information and help.”

 


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Scottish performing arts venues receive £10m rescue package

The Scottish government today (3 July) announced a £10 million rescue fund for performing arts venues unable to reopen due to the coronavirus crisis.

The Performing Arts Venues Relief Fund will be run by Creative Scotland, as part of a wider £185m business support fund.

The fund aims to remove the threat of insolvency for venues before the end of March 2021; allow for specialist and core staff to return from furlough or avoid redundancy to work on future sustainability plans; and increase the opportunities for the employment of freelance artists and creative practitioners.

The Scottish government also says it is “actively considering support” specifically for grassroots music venues.

“Our theatres and performing arts venues and the talented freelancers who work with them are an essential part of the fabric of Scotland’s culture and communities and promote our international reputation,” comments Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

“We are determined that they will survive and be able to thrive again.”

The culture secretary says she recognises that venues have experienced “an almost complete loss of income” after “effectively” having to “close overnight” with the implementation of lockdown laws.

“We will continue to urge the UK government to use their fiscal levers to back culture and creative industries with major investment”

Hyslop also notes the “difficulties” that physical distancing measures present for venues, adding that the fund “will be a vital lifeline to help performing arts venues continue to weather the storm”.

Creative Scotland chief executive Iain Munro says the “significant” fund will provide “a critical injection of cash to help meet the immediate needs of performing arts venues in Scotland”.

“[The fund] demonstrates the Scottish government’s continued commitment to culture but we also recognise that organisations and individuals working across the wider cultural sector are facing extremely challenging circumstances which, in some cases, threaten their long-term viability,” adds Munro.

The announcement comes the day after the UK live industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign took social media by storm. #LetTheMusicPlay became the top trending hashtag on Twitter in the UK and worldwide, and garnered the support of artists including the Rolling Stones, Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd, Celine Dion and Sir Paul McCartney, in a bid to highlight the need for government support.

The Scottish authorities say they will “continue to urge the UK government to use their fiscal levers, such as significant borrowing powers, to back culture and creative industries with major investment.”

Applicants can access these funds and find more information here. The fund is open both to organisations that are regularly funded through Creative Scotland and those that are not.

 


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Highlights from #LetTheMusicPlay campaign

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.”

https://twitter.com/spicegirls/status/1278715481319452673

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.

View this post on Instagram

Itching to get back to my happy place…❤️#LetTheMusicPlay

A post shared by Black Coffee (@realblackcoffee) on

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.

https://twitter.com/Yourallypally/status/1278600420152299520

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.”

View this post on Instagram

I’m so lucky to have this as my job, none of this would be possible without you guys and the incredible people behind the scenes that make it all possible. Live gigs and shows are at huge risk and without them these amazing teams are left without jobs. Today we call on the British government to offer their 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 #letthemusicplay

A post shared by @ hrvy on

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.”

https://twitter.com/therattlesnakes/status/1278645154530942979

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.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCJFhrCjFR7/

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.”

View this post on Instagram

Last show before lockdown, what a night. Performing is what I love the most about being a musician, so let’s make sure we support the live industry at this challenging time #letthemusicplay Credit: Joe Okpako

A post shared by James Arthur (@jamesarthur23) on

“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.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCJCGadD75I/

“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.

https://twitter.com/amylame/status/1278589163529547778

“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.

View this post on Instagram

#repost @davidgilmour I'm joining with musicians & music lovers to ask our government to provide support to the live music industry at this time of crisis. Please join me by sharing photos of the last pre-lockdown gig you went to, using #LetTheMusicPlay (Pics: Royal Albert Hall, 30 September 2016)

A post shared by Pink Floyd (@pinkfloyd) on

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.

https://twitter.com/takethat/status/1278663826980900866

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.”

https://twitter.com/NoelGallagher/status/1278649134992560128

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.

https://twitter.com/LionelRichie/status/1278577350754496512

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”.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CCIz-BUgsyC/

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.

https://twitter.com/coldplay/status/1278613740754264064?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

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.

https://twitter.com/cher/status/1278601225282322432

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”.

https://twitter.com/emilyeavis/status/1278624223330807813?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Etweet

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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#LetTheMusicPlay: UK biz mobilises to call for aid

The leading lights of Britain’s live music industry – including some of its biggest touring talent – have today (2 July) issued an urgent plea for government aid to the sector, warning that a lack of support and continued uncertainty around reopening is having a “devastating” impact in one of the world’s biggest live music markets.

The appeal is centred on a letter to the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, signed by 1,500 artists and bands, including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney, Skepta, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Sir Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Florence and the Machine, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Lewis Capaldi and Little Mix.

In the joint letter, the artists say: “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.

“Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”

New research shows the live music sector added £4.5 billion to Britain’s economy in 2019, and supports 210,000 jobs. While the UK is the fourth-largest music market in the world by value of ticket sales – and the second-biggest per capita – the appeal notes that state support for live music lags behind other countries, with other European governments such as France and Germany using public money to kickstart their concert industries post-Covid-19.

“Government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry”

To coincide with the letter, hundreds of artists will today begin posting films and photos of their last live show using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to, in a mass show of support for the UK’s on-pause live business.

“It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the UK,” says Dua Lipa. “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.

“But the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much-needed government support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals and promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”

The UK live music industry is asking for:

The business and employment support package should include, they say, a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen; an extension of business-rate relief to the entire live music supply chain; rolling over fees for single-premises event licences for festivals; and financial support for lost box-office income.

“Every day, literally, I hear of another friend in music losing their job, shutting up shop or switching careers. This pandemic has affected everyone; it has taken many lives and forever changed many more,” says Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons and Venue Group. “Live entertainment has not been the headline, nor do I believe it should’ve been – at least until now.

“We really have to pay some attention to what our cultural landscape is going to look like on the other side of this, and we’re hoping that #LetTheMusicPlay will pull some of this into focus for a minute.”

“If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever”

Other artists to have signed the letter to Dowden include Take That, the Stone Roses, Foals, James Bay, Genesis, the Chemical Brothers, Johnny Marr, Slade, Biffy Clyro, Bastille, Muse, Sir Tom Jones and Manic Street Preachers.

“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,” says Emily Eavis, organiser of Glastonbury Festival. “If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.”

“July would normally see the UK embarking on a world-famous summer of live music, but this year the lights are switched off and the microphones unplugged,” adds Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association. “Live music has sought to play its role in helping tackle coronavirus, with many artists providing entertainment for people from their homes. But our shutdown is likely to go on for much longer than most, with many concerts and festivals unable to operate until 2021 at the earliest.

“Without rapid government support, the long-term impact will be devastating, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and billions of pounds from the UK economy.”

 


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