Industry leaders across the UK’s live music business have said they stand ready to work closely with Government on the details of its £1.57bn culture rescue fund, but cautioned that the whole ecosystem must be protected.
The financial aid package of emergency grants and loans, must also be complimented by an exemption in VAT for the sector, a Govt-backed insurance scheme for shows, and a conditional date for reopening, industry leaders urge.
Sunday’s announcement about the support package followed the hugely successful #LetTheMusicPlay day that saw 1,500 artists write directly to culture secretary Oliver Dowden, and tens of millions of fans posting online about the importance of live music, a £4.5bn sector that employs 210,000 people. The campaign, coordinated by members of the UK Live Music Group and Concert Promoters Association (CPA), with additional support from UK Music, trended at No. 1 globally on Twitter and attracted media coverage around the world.
“Thousands of artists, venues, festivals, managers, agents, promoters and production crew came together for #LetTheMusicPlay, and we must ensure that all of them receive the support that they so desperately need,” said Phil Bowdery, Chair of the CPA. “We stand ready to work closely with the Government to ensure that this world-class industry survives.”
Live music was one of the first industries to close, and concerts are not expected to return in earnest until well into 2021. According to member research compiled by each of the live music associations, over the six month period between October 2020 and March 2021, the operating costs of the broader live music sector will be £298.8m. This figure is in addition to the £47m required by grassroots music venues, called for by Music Venue Trust.
“The Government’s £1.57bn package for the arts is welcome, but we lack detail of how funding will be allocated for music,” added Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive of the Music Managers Forum. “The thousands who work and perform in our sector desperately require comprehensive support if their jobs and livelihoods are to be sustained.”
“Sunday’s very promising announcement looks to fulfil one of the industry’s primary asks,” said Kilimanjaro Live MD, and CPA Co-Chair Stuart Galbraith. “We are ready to work on the details of the scheme, and our other requests – a VAT exemption for the sector, a Government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead, and a timeline for safe reopening without social distancing – at the Government’s convenience. We look forward to this ongoing discussion shortly.”