Thousands across the music industry are today issuing an urgent plea for support from the UK Government following new research unveiling the vital economic contribution of the live music sector in the UK.

As well as supporting 210,000 jobs across the country, venues, concerts, festivals and production companies added £4.5bn to the economy in 2019, but due to the complex challenges the live music industry faces, it will be one of the last sectors to reopen and warns of the devastating impact this will have in the months and years ahead.

There are two ways you can get involved in the campaign:

Read and sign the joint letter

The appeal has been made in a letter to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden. In the joint letter, the artists say:

“UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak

“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 world- leading industry.”.

The letter has been signed by 1,500 artists including Ed Sheeran, The Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney, Skepta and more, many of whom were due to perform at festivals this summer, including Leeds, Reading, Latitude, Parklife, TRNSMT, and hundreds more across the country.

560 venues and nearly 4,000 production crew vital to the success of the industry have also added their names.

Read the full joint letter, see a full list of signatures and add your name here >

Share images of your last gig with #LetTheMusicPlay

To coincide with the letter, hundreds of artists, venues, concerts, festivals, production companies and other people across the industry will today begin posting films and photos of their last live gig under the banner #LetTheMusicPlay.

You can get involved by:

  • Posting a video or photo of your last show, with the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay
  • Sharing other #LetTheMusicPlay posts and industry statistics
  • Encouraging your colleagues, networks, family and friends to do the same.

Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to, all in a mass show of support for the UK’s world-leading live music industry during its shutdown.

Words from the industry

Dua Lipa said: “It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the UK. From the very start playing live concerts up and down the country has been a cornerstone for my own career. I am proud to have had the chance to play through all the levels … small clubs, then theatres and ballrooms and into arenas, and of course festivals in between each touring cycle. But the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much needed government support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals and promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.

Emily Eavis, Glastonbury organiser, said: “The UK’s venues, festivals, performers and crew bring so much to this country’s culture and economy, but they are now facing desperate financial challenges. If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.”

Phil Bowdery, Chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association, said: “July would normally see the UK embarking on a world-famous summer of live music, but this year the lights are switched off and the microphones unplugged. Live music has sought to play its role in helping tackle Coronavirus, with many artists providing entertainment for people from their homes. But our shut down is likely to go on for much longer than most with many concerts and festivals unable to operate until 2021 at the earliest. Without rapid government support, the long-term impact will be devastating, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and billions of pounds from the UK economy.”

Requests from the industry

As other parts of the economy start to reopen, the live music industry is calling on the Government to provide vital sector-specific support, including:

  1. A clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing.
  2. A comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance.
  3. Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
  4. The business and employment support package should include: a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen; an extension of business rate relief to the entire live music supply chain to protect our ecosystem; rolling-over fees for single premises event licences for festivals; and financial support for lost box office income.