Ed Sheeran, Lewis Capaldi, and Rita Ora are among the stars calling on the U.K. government to assist those working in the live music industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.
More than 1,500 artists, including Rod Stewart, Paul McCartney, the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, and Liam Gallagher, have signed a joint letter, warning the future is “bleak” for hundreds of thousands of workers in the sector.
Addressed to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden appealing for sector specific support, the note says: “U.K. live music has been one of the U.K.’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 calls for a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing, a “comprehensive business and employment support package” and access to finance, plus full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
“Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love,” said Gallagher on how Covid-19 has affected the industry.
Lipa added: “It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the U.K.”
To coincide with the initiative, artists have pledged to post films and photos of their last live gig under the banner #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to in a mass show of support for the U.K.’s live music industry during the shutdown.