Music fans are being encouraged to write to their local MP in support of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign, in a bid to save the UK’s music scene.
The campaign launched yesterday, with the likes of Paul McCartney, The Cure, Dua Lipa, Radiohead, Nick Cave, Ed Sheeran, Dizzee Rascal, Liam Gallagher and PJ Harvey among the 1,500 artists who signed an open letter to he Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden – in a bid to “show the vital importance of the UK’s live music industry, ensure the Government cannot ignore live music and make noise to get the public and financial support the industry needs to survive”.
In the wake of restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 crisis and lockdown, the Music Venue Trust have called for a £50million cash injection to save the “world-beating £5.2billion per year music industry” and to allow these spaces to “hibernate” until October and prevent their permanent closure, while 92% of festival businesses are also at risk of collapse and called for government support to “make it to next year without being wiped out”.
To urge the government into action, fans are encouraged to write to their local MP and ask for their support to bring about immediate help. You can find details of your local MP and how to contact them here.
As laid out by UK Music, the three key asks of the government are:
1. A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing
2. An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance.
3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
Organisers of #LetTheMusicPlay say that “50% of the entire workforce is facing redundancy, 90% of grassroots venues face closure, many operators are facing insolvency and having cancelled this summer and many festivals will struggle to return next year.”
The letter reads: “This sector doesn’t want to ask for government help. The promoters, festival organisers, and other employers want to be self-sufficient, as they were before lockdown. But, 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 great world-leading industry.
“Government has addressed two important British pastimes – football and pubs – and it’s now crucial that it focuses on a third, live music. For the good of the economy, the careers of emerging British artists, and the UK’s global music standing, we must ensure that a live music industry remains when the pandemic has finally passed.”
With singing, dancing, standing close to others and being in confined spaces are deemed to be “high risk activities” under current guidelines, the venue community then hit back at the government’s suggested “five point plan” to “raise the curtain” on live performances”.