The UK music industry has been reacting to the news of a £1.57 billion support package handed to the arts sector by the government yesterday (July 5).
The bailout will provide music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.
The money is the biggest one-off investment in UK culture ever, helping companies, venues and institutions to survive the coronavirus pandemic without going out of business.
Announcing the new funds, Boris Johnson said: “From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK’s cultural industry is the beating heart of this country.
“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down.”
Reacting to the news, the Music Venue Trust wrote: “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 DCMS 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.
“On behalf of every grassroots music venue in the UK we would like to take this opportunity to thank every music fan, every artist, every activist, and every one of you, our people, who got this done.”
ANNOUNCEMENT: GRASSROOTS MUSIC VENUES RECEIVE LIFELINEBritain’s globally renowned arts, culture and heritage…
Renowned small Southampton venue The Joiners called the new funds “a light at the end of the tunnel,” while the Forum in Tunbridge Wells hailed the “incredible” news.
Incredible scenes after all the campaigning and panic us grassroots venues have suffered the past few months there's finally a light at the end of the tunnel! ⚡❤️✊ https://t.co/ZkFmFC5xOH
— The Joiners (@joinerslive) July 5, 2020
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We had some incredible news last night and we felt that by sharing the statement (IN OUR BIO) was the best way of giving you all the best explanation as possible. An enormous thank you needs to go to @musicvenuetrust . The Grassroots music venue sector is so fortunate to have this team in place to support what we do. Their efforts have been relentless and this really would not be happening without their pressure and discussions with the UK Government for the last 3 months. Please read the statement. It’s the top option via link in our bio. Love The Forum xx ❤️🖤💙🧡💜💛💚
London’s Royal Albert Hall, meanwhile, which had faced the threat of closure, wrote: “We are grateful for support as we face our toughest challenge yet,” with a host of other venues including Brighton’s Green Door Store sharing their support for the news.
"We are grateful for support as we face our toughest challenge yet."
Read our full response to the government's £1.57bn support package: https://t.co/kqphiuLybC
— Royal Albert Hall (@RoyalAlbertHall) July 6, 2020
HUGE NEWS!! ❤️😭 https://t.co/pHh8gpfHzh
— Green Door Store (@greendoorstore) July 5, 2020
Thank you, everyone. There's light at the end of the tunnel. https://t.co/bqmzBcRkLR
— The Railway Inn (@railwaylive) July 5, 2020
The funds come after the music industry urged the UK government to provide £50 million of funding to support the live music sector through the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign launched, which saw over 100 artists including Radiohead, The Cure, Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Paul McCartney, Dua Lipa, The Rolling Stones and Coldplay, came together to sign an open letter to the government demanding immediate action to prevent “catastrophic damage” to the music industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Primal Scream’s Simone Marie Butler wrote for NME this week on the importance of saving small venues. “The more of us that come together and unify, the greater the influence and opportunity there will be to instruct change,” she wrote. “Music can bring us together and create life changing moments. I believe this is one of those moments.”
“Expert independent figures” from the arts sector are set to help the government decide where the money should go, and more details are set to be announced when the scheme opens “in the coming weeks”.
UK Music’s Acting CEO Tom Kiehl has responded to the news of the package, describing it as a “huge step forward” and a “lifesaver for many music venues”.