Music industry campaigning and lobbying group UK Music has called on Boris Johnson to include live music in his roadmap out of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in order to save jobs and help music drive the UK’s post-pandemic recovery.
Ahead of the PM’s expected announcement on 22 February about the lifting of coronavirus restrictions, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin (pictured) said the live music industry needed “urgent clarity” to plan for summer and save thousands of jobs that are “at risk of being lost forever”.
The UK Music boss said the imposed pause on vast swathes of the music industry for almost a year has put thousands of jobs at risk in a sector that provides work for 200,000 people and contributes £5.8bn a year to the UK economy.
Against a backdrop of hospital admission and Covid-19 cases falling significantly, and with predictions that every UK adult could receive both vaccination jabs by August, Njoku-Goodwin said the UK is fast reaching a critical point for the live music industry.
He said, “If festivals and large events are forced to cancel for another year, many will go under and thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost forever.
“We are not asking to reopen a moment before it is safe to do so, but if our sector is to survive through this pandemic then we require urgent clarity about the months ahead and some indication of when live music will be able to return.”
Njoku-Goodwin said the industry had done a huge amount to reduce the risk of Covid transmission by working with the Government to develop safe working practices, engaging on testing pilots and by looking at all possible options to make festivals and venues as safe as possible.
He called on Government for a “laser-like” focus on how the industry can work with it to get live music back as swiftly and safely as possible: “A restart date for live music would be hugely welcome. The long lead time involved in planning festivals and other events makes this crucial. At the very least, we need clarity about the conditions under which we would be allowed to get live events under way again.
“The vaccination rollout has been a huge success and case rates are going in the right direction but without certainty about when live music will be allowed to operate again, many businesses and organisations in our sector and the wider supply chain will struggle to survive.
“When the time for the post-pandemic recovery comes, the UK’s world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s economic and cultural revival.
“Live music brings massive economic benefits right across the country, often to communities where they are crucial to local employment and trade by creating extra business for hotels, taxi firms, restaurants, bars and many more.
“But for us to play that positive role in the post-pandemic recovery, and help provide the economy with the shot in the arm it will desperately need, our industry requires urgent clarity on the likely road ahead.”