A four-week delay to the Government’s roadmap would cost the live music sector more than £500m, and put the summer festival season in jeopardy, according to research carried out by umbrella live music industry body LIVE.
It found 65% of festival operators said they will be unable to go ahead with their events if there is a four-week delay to Step 4 of the reopening roadmap beyond 21 June.
LIVE said a delay would put 5,000 shows at risk with estimated financial damage of over £500m, and leave 248 grassroots venues facing immediate risk of eviction.
Organisers of more than 5,000 shows by artists including Olly Murs, Tom Odell, Rag’n’Bone Man, Beverley Knight, McFly, Alexandra Burke and Rudimental said they would either need to cancel or postpone, incurring immediate costs across the live music supply chain and further damaging an industry already hanging in the balance.
The organisation emphasised that the Government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) findings have been widely reported as showing that with screening, improved ventilation and other mitigating factors, mass events can be as safe as a trip to the supermarket.
LIVE called on Government to publish its ERP finding in full to enable the live events sector to adapt to a “new normal” where they are able to deploy precautions to allow events to take place safely as the threat of Covid reduces.
AEG Presents CEO of European festivals James King, “A delay into July without a clear roadmap to get back to Step 4 puts an impossible strain on all festivals, including AEG’s All Points East Festival, along with our suppliers across the industry.
“We cannot keep waiting indefinitely without knowing when Step 4 will take place, and this uncertainty will undoubtedly result – by default – in more cancellations. We are desperate for the UK festival season to begin again, but an undated reopening makes long term planning and investment unfeasible.”
LIVE CEO Greg Parmley said, “The Government has said it wants to protect the domestic unlock at all costs, but delaying the roadmap leaves us in limbo – unable to proceed with plans and enjoy our summer at home, forced to abandon large scale events that the public are so looking forward to after a year of cancellations.
“By its own evidence from the Events Research Programme, as we saw at both the BRITs and in Liverpool, large scale events can happen safely with the right precautions in place. The Government must now follow its own science if it is to avoid the decline of the UK’s world-leading live music industry, which absolutely cannot afford to miss out on another summer of cancelled events after a year on pause.”
National Arenas Association chair Lucy Noble said, “We implore the Government to follow their own scientific data that proves live events are safe with the right mitigations. Now is the time for them to protect the live events sector for generations to come.”
The live music industry supports 210,000 full-time equivalent roles, as well as over 90,000 freelancers.