UK live music sector calls for government help after quarter of 2022 shows cancelled

"The live music industry is still facing serious challenges"

The UK live music sector has called on the government for further support after reports that more than 25 per cent of gigs have already been cancelled this year.

A new survey by trade body LIVE (via Music Week) has revealed that more than a quarter of live shows have been scrapped in the first three months of 2022.

The cancellations have seen the industry once again ask the government for a list of measures for support.

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These include keeping the re-use rate of VAT on tickets, removing roadblocks on transportation to ensure tours can continue, and resolving the government insurance scheme to support the industry in the event of cancellations. Public confidence following the coronavirus pandemic is also low.

Greg Parmley, LIVE CEO, said: “Whilst it is great news that restrictions on live music venues will come to an end in much of the UK at the end of January, the live music industry is still facing serious challenges.

“The impact of the past two years has been catastrophic for the venues, artists, freelancers, and technical staff that power our £4.5billion industry.”

The crowd at Blossoms’ Sefton Park Liverpool pilot gig. CREDIT: Ben Bentley

He continued: “It will take a long time for us to recover from the worst period in history of the industry and the government needs to fully understand the challenges we face.

“Whilst the UK is reopening many artists need international markets to fully reopen before touring can be financially viable.

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“We are also encouraging the public to continue to support live music, whether that is seeing a new band at a small local venue or a big act in an arena, so that we can get through this difficult period together.”

Back in December, music venue staff from across the UK spoke to NME to voice their concerns over the government’s “pointless” and “bonkers” support package to aid them through the Omicron COVID crisis.

Music venues and nightclub workers said that they were “on the brink of collapse” before chancellor Rishi Sunak brought forward a £1billion support package for businesses affected by the recent COVID surge.

The package included one-off grants of £6,000, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and an additional £30million for the previously announced Cultural Recovery Fund.

This was slammed as “woefully inadequate” by the Music Venue Trust, an “insult” by Night Time Economy Advisor Sacha Lord, and an effort that would “barely touch the sides” by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) issued a joint statement saying they too were “massively concerned” that the new measures still have “nothing for artists and live industry professionals” who are being affected by the pandemic.

This comes at a time when UK music venues are already facing £90million of debt due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Music fans can support their local music venue by purchasing official merchandise, while NME readers can also help and get £10 off packs of Fightback Lager.

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