British musicians urge UK government to support live music industry

British musicians urge UK government to support live music industry

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran and The Rolling Stones were among some 1,500 musicians who called on Thursday for the British government to help the live music business survive the novel coronavirus outbreak.

“The future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak,” the musicians wrote in an open letter to British Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

“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.”

The letter called for a clear timeline on when music venues could reopen, as well as support for businesses and jobs.

Live music important to economy

They cited new research showing that live music added £4.5 billion ($5.6 billion, 5.0 billion euros) to the British economy and supported 210,000 jobs across the country last year.

“UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade,” they wrote in the letter.

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”.

Dowden responded to the musicians in a tweet on Thursday saying he is “pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back”. He said decisions on reopening of live music venues would be difficult as it relates to the future of social distancing.

Appeal from musicians across generations

Music venues, concerts and festivals – including the annual summer Glastonbury festival – were shuttered or cancelled in March when the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the country.

Britain, whose death toll from pandemic is approaching 55,000, showed a Reuters tally of official data sources, is in the process of gradually reopening retail stores, schools and pubs.

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.

“Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love,” musician Liam Gallagher said.

Courtesy: (TRTWorld)

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