“Live music venues are often a hideout for the misunderstood, the weird but wonderful. These venues help hone and forge icons out of these people, and without a sustainable live music scene we will have failed the next generation of authentic, potential superstars” – Jack – Al Moses
Thursday 2nd July saw artists and organisations across the UK launch the campaign Let The Music Play. The main aim of this campaign is to put pressure on the UK Government to give much needed financial support to the music industry which is close to collapse. Social media has been full of people sharing memories, photos of the last gig they attended and highlighting why music venues are so important. Over 1500 artists have signed an open letter to the Government to demand immediate action.
The facts that emerged yesterday highlighting the danger the industry is facing really brought home the damage being caused by COVID 19. 90% of grassroots venues are under the threat of closure, they need £50 million cash injection to ensure they do not go out of business. The live music industry employs 210,000 people and up to 50% of the workforce is facing unemployment. When we have a Government that can reportedly give loans out to Wetherspoons, and largely ignores a sector that gives so much to people’s well being and inspires people to do something with their lives it really does lead you to question what sort of country do we live in. Other countries, Germany to name just one, are helping out, it can be done.
We have all had so many incredibly happy times in these small independent venues; watching gigs, making friends, enjoying the company of strangers. Going to a gig is one of those moments in life where you never feel alone. From the moment you enter a venue or arrive at a festival you instantly feel that you belong (well I have always felt that way at least). You are amongst people with a shared passion, shared interest and there is nothing fake about it. You never have to pretend to be someone you are not. If you are not the most confident of people and conversation does not come easy to you, being at a gig can make any worries or anxieties that you have just drift away.
Every artist you love has started their life playing to bar staff and perhaps one or two people. These are the places that have such a significant impact on our culture and the society we live in. Can you imagine a country where these places don’t exist? Where is the next band/singer songwriter going to have the opportunity to play and develop? The thought of these venues closing fills me with so much fear.
It is not just the small venues, the entire industry is in danger of collapsing. Imagine a world with no Glastonbury festival. Michael Eavis has recently said if there is no Glastonbury in 2021 the festival may not survive. Festivals and the industry as a whole pumps money back in to the economy. The Government needs to help before it’s too late.
The lucky ones amongst us who will survive COVID 19 are going to need the arts more than ever. The arts are going to be central to the rebuilding of the country and society, these places are central to our well being. They are needed not just for our generation but for future generations. I need to know that these venues and the music industry as a whole is going to be there for future generations to enjoy and be inspired by as much as I have over the years.
Let The Music Play is a campaign that has to last for more than a day, we all have to remember how important the music industry is. We have to keep the conversation going, talk to your friends, families and anyone else who may or may not be interested in what you have to say. Make sure people listen. Write to your local MP keep the pressure on this Government to act know before it is too late. https://members.parliament.uk/FindYourMP