UK Music’s acting CEO calls for “urgent clarity” on impact of coronavirus on live events

“The virus is having a catastrophic impact on the UK music industry and will threaten many jobs and businesses"

UK Music’s acting CEO Tom Kiehl has called for “urgent clarity” on the impact the coronavirus clampdown will have on music events.

Kiehl penned a statement after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today (March 16) that the government would no longer be “supporting” mass gatherings by using emergency workers.

In a press conference relating to the coronavirus crisis earlier this afternoon, Johnson said UK citizens should now avoid all “non-essential” contact with others as cases of the virus continue to increase worldwide.


“Public safety remains the top priority for everyone involved in the UK music industry during this unprecedented health emergency,” Kiehl began his statement. “However, the Prime Minister’s latest advice on mass gatherings has resulted in huge uncertainty and confusion over what exactly it will mean for the music industry.

“We need urgent clarity from Government about what exactly these new changes will mean. The Government must spell out whether there will be a formal ban, when that might come into effect, which venues and events will be impacted and how long the measures will remain in place.

“The virus is having a catastrophic impact on the UK music industry and will threaten many jobs and businesses across our right across our sector.

“As well as clarity, we need swift action from the Government to mitigate the immense damage and disruption this will cause to our music industry that is the envy of the world.”

Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson has said UK citizens should avoid all “non-essential” contact with others. CREDIT: Richard Pohle – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Kiehl also discussed the potential drawbacks the coronavirus restrictions could have on live venues.


“Unless music businesses and venues get help fast to get them though this desperately difficult period, the sad reality is the vital businesses and much loved venues will go to the wall,” he said.

“UK Music will continue to speak to Government and will be working with our members to do all we can to press for help and work towards getting our industry back on its feet as quickly as possible.

“We will continue to follow and support Government advice on coronavirus and urge everyone to listen to medical and scientific advice.”

Over the past week, a whole host of gigs and festivals have been cancelled or postponed due to the continued COVID-19 pandemic.

Coachella has announced that it will be postponed until October, while this month’s SXSW in Austin is also off and the latest induction for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame is being postponed.

Radio 1 have also announced that their annual Big Weekend, set to be held in Dundee this May, is being cancelled.

NME and The 100 Club have announced a London music pop-up showcase in the wake of SXSW cancellation – get all the details here.

Get details of every cancelled gig, festival and tour due to coronavirus – and how to get your ticket refund.