The London music scene is at a standstill right now. With social distancing in force and no agreed financial support from the government, the future of indie venues and gigging artists is in flux. If the closures continue, the core live music industry in the UK stands to lose £900 million for the rest of 2020. More than 70 percent of UK music venues are at risk of closure. In response to all this uncertainty, a group of live music businesses, including artists, venues, concerts and festivals, have launched Let the Music Play, a campaign spotlighting the importance of the UK music sector. Together they are asking the government for three things:
- A clear conditional timeline for reopening venues without social distancing.
- An immediate comprehensive business and employment support package and access to finance.
- Full VAT exemption on ticket sales.
UK artists have come out in support of the campaign – 1,400 musicians have signed a letter calling on culture secretary Oliver Dowden to help secure tangible government support for the UK music sector. Dizzee Rascal, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney, Radiohead, The Rolling Stones and PJ Harvey have all signed their names.
Now London artists, venues, and music fans are showing their support for the campaign on social media by sharing #letthemusicplay alongside photographs and video footage of their last pre-lockdown gig. Here are some of our faves so far (be warned, the following content WILL make you feel desperately nostalgic for standing in cramped sweaty rooms with a plastic pint glass of beer)...
In happier news, NTS Radio has launched a membership scheme.