Today we’re joining friends, colleagues and artists we admire in calling for urgent support from the UK government to stop the imminent collapse of our live events sector. Due to the ongoing Covid crisis the industry has been at a standstill since March, and there’s no way of knowing when things can begin to return to normal. Live events were the first industry to close due to preventative measures surrounding the virus, and will be among the last to reopen, and in the interim hundreds of thousands of people have been left out of work and without any sign of sufficient support from the government. It’s impossible to understate to potential damage that will be done by the government’s inaction, and how important it is that you join in making a stand and making your voices heard.
Live music isn’t just about big name chart topping acts. All those acts had to start somewhere, and there are so many up and coming artists who could be the next big thing and make music that will change you life who have been working hard to earn their place in the industry. A generation of talent could be lost without action. Live music is more than just artists however, it’s like a broad ecosystem in that one small change can have far reaching impacts in ways you don’t expect. There are thousands of skilled workers and specialised industries who have all been abandoned by the government. The sound and lighting engineers, the drivers and roadies, the bar staff and security. The people running merch stands and ticket offices, the cleaners and caterers, photographers and videographers. The instrument techs, the companies that make, maintain and operate a wide range of specialised equipment. The technicians and administrators that keep things running smoothly. And that’s just the venues and touring staff, that’s not even counting all the business live events bring to their local area. The boost to local hospitalities, to hotels, shops, bars, restaurants and local and national transport links.
We’re talking about a £5 billion industry that has just been left to rot. It would take the bare minimum of effort from the UK government to provide targeted financial support for businesses unable to operate under current coronavirus restrictions. And yet, their response in recent weeks has been to leave one of the few industries in which we can truly claim to be “world beating” to die a slow death, and tell thousands of hard working, highly trained professionals to abandon their trade and just “find a new job”. A downright insulting suggestion, especially considering the live events sector is just one industry that’s been neglected and forgotten, with engineering, manufacturing, hospitalities, creative industries, small business owners and countless others similarly hung out to dry. What future have they left for any of us?
This despicable government has done no end of horrible things, untold thousands have been left to suffer and die thanks to their vile policies and hateful ideas, but their appalling mishandling of the Covid crisis really takes the cake. Never before have I been so incandescent with rage, and never before have their loathsome machinations hit so close to home. We stand to lose so much; an industry that is the envy of the world, thousands of lives and livelihoods, and a key part of our culture and national identity. The damage dealt by such a vile dereliction of duty will take generations of toil and struggle against all odds to set right. The sole ray of light in all this is the government’s predilection for policy u-turns in the face of overwhelming opposition and outcry. They are either blind or unfeeling towards the plight of the events industry and the cliff edge that they are so clearly steering the country towards, and so the only way forward is to join the fight, stand up, and let your voice be heard. The only fate worse than being stuck in a wasteland is to be stuck in one without music.