Sheeran, Stones back urgent call to aid UK live music

Carla Harmon
July 3, 2020

They explained that "with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed" the future for the entire scene "looks bleak" and that government support is "crucial to prevent mass insolvencies".

The appeal was signed by musicians across genres and generations, including Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton, Bob Geldof, Coldplay, Sting and Dua Lipa, Liam Gallagher, Skepta and Florence + the Machine as well as producers and operators of concert halls and clubs.

You Me At Six simply wrote: "We are supporting #letthemusicplay 90% of Grassroots live music venues are under threat of permanent closure".

Music Venue Trust initially wrote the letter last month, and it was signed by around 560 of their venues.

The musicians said live music added 4.5 billion pounds - around five point six billion U.S. dollars - to the British economy and supported 210,000 jobs in 2019.

Liam Gallagher added: "Amazing gigs don't happen without an awesome team behind the stage, but they'll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love".


"Today we come together with the rest of the United Kingdom music industry to show our support for #LetTheMusicPlay", say Bullet For My Valentine, "a campaign highlighting the crisis faced by the live music sector". This is why we are raising awareness for much needed government support for the music community.

They also want a business and employment support package plus Value-Added Tax exemption on ticket sales.

Artists, venues, festivals and production companies used the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay on Thursday, with fans also posting in a show of support. Every day, literally, I hear of another friend in music losing their job, shutting up shop, switching careers.

Live music has taken a battering during the pandemic.

"But this isn't about us going off around the world and having fun".

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis added: 'If the Government doesn't step up and support the British arts, we could lose vital aspects of our culture for ever'. We need to see financial assistance or these businesses will not be there when we can finally re-open.


The open letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden states the industry is at risk of "massive insolvencies" as concerts and festivals aren't likely to return until next year because of the coronavirus, leaving thousands of musicians and crew members potentially out of work.

In a tweet, the minister of Culture said that "understand the profound anxiety " the world of music, providing pressure to give a calendar and "roadmap"."All this involves very hard decisions about the future of the physical distance, which as we know has saved lives " added Oliver Dowden.

Michael Grade, the former BBC director-general who sits on the government's Cultural Renewal Taskforce, called for patience.

"Everybody wants an instant answer".

The singer said it was "time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the United Kingdom music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes". "It's the one growth area of the economy that kept on growing through the recession, so just be a little bit patient".


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