Damon Albarn says artists “should be allowed” to perform during pandemic

"You've got to allow music to continue"

Damon Albarn has shared his concerns about the live music industry in a new interview, stating his belief that artists should be permitted to continue performing as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “If people are willing to perform, they should be allowed to. No one should be forced to do anything, but if people are willing then somehow we can make it work so everyone can feel comfortable and participate.”

While the Gorillaz frontman admitted the band were “lucky we’ve always had our virtual world,” he said he worried for the future of live music and the industry at large, and viewed the pandemic as a “medical emergency but an existential one as well.”


Albarn added: “You’ve got to allow music to continue. We are trying to preserve everyone’s health at the moment so passionately, we mustn’t ignore live music in that prescription.”

Damon Albarn Gorillaz
Damon Albarn performing on stage during Lucca Summer Festival on July 12, 2018 in Italy. Credit: Francesco Prandoni/Redferns/Getty

The singer was also deeply critical of the UK government’s artist retraining media campaign – which was widely mocked in the international music community – and said that the £257million grant pledged to help live music venues was not sufficient.

“It’s sadly something that has been in the DNA of all Conservative governments since Thatcher, the diminishing of the value of the arts, it’s very short sighted and really goes against something I feel extremely proud of,” Albarn said. “Our British identity is our creative industries and our creative history.”

On Wednesday (October 28) Albarn teased a collaboration with Tame Impala for a potential second season of Gorillaz’ ‘Song Machine’ project.


In an interview with Australian radio station Double J, Albarn confirmed that he had been working with Kevin Parker, alluding to the teaser photo shared by Gorillaz guitarist Noodle on Instagram in February.