UK Music has published a new report calling for government measures to safeguard a summer of live music in 2021.
Released as the country is coming to terms with another national lockdown, UK Music’s Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021 report puts forward a strategy to protect and support Britain’s live music sector. Over 32 pages, the document outlines a path to ensuring that the sector is ready to restart when it’s safe to do so.
UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin is set to appear today (January 5) at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee enquiry into music festivals. The report, which is out now, calls for cancellation insurance for music events similar to that imposed for the TV and film sector.
With the future of live music in the UK still unclear amidst tightening coronavirus restrictions and surging case numbers, the sector is working to implement measures to allow for the safe return of artists and fans.
“While this pandemic is still raging and continues to cause devastation to lives and livelihoods today, there is an endpoint in sight,” said Njoku-Goodwin, who was interviewed in Music Week late last year. “Government is rolling out the vaccine and is openly speculating about returning to normal by the spring – but there is a serious risk that even if this proves to be a reality, lack of notice and available insurance options will mean much of the 2021 summer music season can’t go ahead.”
The live music industry can be at the forefront of the post-pandemic recovery
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, UK Music
According to UK Music data, festival attendance rose by 6% to 5.2 million in 2019, from 4.9 million in 2018. Last year saw a 90.2% drop in revenue for festivals, with fears of redundancies of up to 50% in the workforce, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF).
Led by Music Week columnist Mark Davyd, The Music Venue Trust has said that Covid-19 restrictions reduced capacities by 75% at grassroots venues, cut trading hours by 50 to 75% and introduced heavy additional costs on venues.
UK Music’s new report calls for an indicative date for a full capacity restart, a Government-backed indemnity scheme, targeted financial support for the sector, an extension to the VAT rate reduction on tickets and business rates relief and a rollover of the paid 2020 Local Authority licence fees for festivals to 2021.
Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: “In this report, UK Music is putting forward a clear plan for recovery: what we need to do to get the live performance sector back up on its feet again in 2021. But the clock is ticking, and any day soon we could see major festivals and events start pulling the plug for lack of certainty. With the right support the live music industry can be at the forefront of the post-pandemic recovery and play a key role in our country’s economic and cultural revival – but there will need to be a concerted effort from industry and the Government together if we are to let the music play and save our summer.”