Let The Music Play – COVID-19 And The Damage To The Live Music Industry

by Montana Tallentire

5th July, 2020

Just like many other industries, COVID-19 has caused devastating damage to the live music industry. With many of us planning our summers around various festivals, desperate to see the latest act we had discovered or see someone we had worshiped for as long as we can remember we were suddenly diverged and headed on a different course.

Unable to see loved ones, go outside, go to work we turned to arts to hold onto the norm or even escape the new normal we were faced with. We binged Netflix, watched endless movies, started to paint and rewatched live performances that defined moments in history.

We turn to music when facing change Bob Marley’s ‘One Love Peace’ reflected the political civil war in Jamaica, Live Aid (witnessed by 40% of the world’s population) focused on the Ethiopian famine and Ariana Grande’s ‘One Love Manchester’ provided national unity after an act of terrorism.

In 2019, the live music industry injected £4.5 billion into the UK economy supporting 210,000 jobs in the process. However due to the pandemic we all face, the live music industry is endangered with 50% of the entire workforce facing redundancy and 90% of grassroot venues facing permanent closure.

It is not the household artists that demand your attention but the thousands of faces that go unseen. The faces that are the driving force behind the moments that define our lives. The faces that work with artists, organisers and venues for well over a year before the performance to create iconic moments that are etched into our memories forever. That work endless nights, installing staging and lighting for you; just to go and do it again the next night.

Over 1,500 artists have called upon the Government to outline a “clear, conditional timeline” for the reopening of venues. With a timeline implemented, businesses can plan ahead and therefore jobs can be saved. Alongside this the Music Venue Trust has penned a letter signed by over 560 venues asking for £50 million to save the live music industry and prevent permanent closure.

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