Read our latest blog by our Senior Communications Executive Gina Francey.
If you’d asked me at the start of the year what I’d be spending my summer months doing, I can assure you it wouldn’t have been planning my first trip to the pub in three months or heading to the driving range… (Yes, I am now the proud owner of a set of second-hand golf clubs from Facebook marketplace).
As an avid gig-goer throughout the year, the summer months usually mean one thing. – Music festival season.
With this, comes the badge of honour of tying to out do the previous year, travelling far and wide on National Express coaches to catch a glimpse of that legendary set in a city, field or beach that you aren’t quite familiar with.
Summer 2020 marks the first time in over ten years that I will not be stepping foot through the gates of a festival or the doors of a music venue to soak up the intensity of a live show. Sad, yes, but of course the postponement of these types of events is necessary for us to ensure a second wave of coronavirus does not hit the UK.
However, it is concerning that as venues and festivals remain ‘closed until further notice’, many might not survive the COVID-19 storm. The Venue Music Trust have calculated that if venues remain closed for a further three months this will cost a combined £46 million, and 93% will not be able to reopen at all.
Last month, in an open letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden the Trust set out an urgent appeal to the Government for a £50 million financial support package to ensure hundreds of grassroots venues can open their doors at the end of the year.
After going over four weeks without a response, those involved in the campaign, including The Features Artists’ Coalition whose members include the likes of Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien launched the #LetTheMusicPlay social media campaign last week.
This saw artists, venue owners and fans share videos and memories of why the venues are important to our culture as a country. As part of this, infographics shone a light on the fact the industry alone contributed £4.5bn to the UK’s economy in 2019 and supported 210,000 jobs across the country.
Following the campaign, the Government has now announced it will be supporting the industry with a £1.57bn support package for Britain’s arts and culture sector. This will support the likes of music venues, museums, galleries, and cinemas.
Now that does not mean that every venue will reopen its doors when its safe to do so but it is most certainly a huge sigh of relief for many (myself included). So as a music lover, I am truly grateful that the Government has recognised that these venues needed this support and have ultimately #LetTheMusicPlay.
If you want to understand more about the campaign and how you can support your local venues, please visit the ‘Save Our Venues’ website which was launched back in March 2020 for further information.