Iron Maiden, Judas Priest + More Join Campaign to Save Live Music
Veteran metal acts such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest have teamed with other British musical artists in seeking the government's support to save live music in the United Kingdom. This week, they joined Paul McCartney, Muse and The Rolling Stones in signing an open letter spurred by the coronavirus.
The letter — part of U.K. Music's #LetTheMusicPlay campaign and signed by over a thousand other performers — was addressed to U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden. In the communiqué, the assembled artists make a case for live music's economic impact in the country and request financial assistance to help music "venues, promoters, festival organizers" and other related employers stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The full text of the musicians' open letter is available to read below. The #LetTheMusicPlay campaign also sums up the situation in a message on its website.
"Live music has been one of the U.K.'s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade," the statement explains. "But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for venues, concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.
It continues, "Like other countries such as Germany and Australia, we need the Government to help the music industry, which contributes £5.2 billion to the economy annually and sustains almost 200,000 jobs to ensure it remains world-leading following the damage caused by this pandemic."
On social media, the involved artists are also making the campaign known. To make it even more visible, many have taken to Twitter to extend an invitation to fans to share a photo or video from the last concert they went to along with the issue's associated hashtag, #LetTheMusicPlay.
Additional artists who have signed the open letter include Coldplay, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Blur, The Stone Roses, Manic Street Preachers, Radiohead, Eric Clapton, Mumford & Sons, Patti Smith, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins, Bring Me the Horizon, Gary Numan, Johnny Marr and others.
The Rolling Stones
Dear Secretary of State,
UK live music has been one of the UK's biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. From world-famous festivals to ground-breaking concerts, the live music industry showcases, supports, and develops some of the best talent in the world – on and off-stage. As important as it is, our national and regional contribution isn't purely cultural.
Our economic impact is also significant, with live music adding £4.5bn to the British economy and supporting 210,000 jobs across the country in 2019. Like every part of the entertainment industry, live music has been proud to play our part in the national effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus and keep people safe.
But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.
This sector doesn't want to ask for government help. The venues, promoters, festival organisers, and other employers want to be self-sufficient, as they were before lockdown. But, until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies, and the end of this great world-leading industry.
Government has addressed two important British pastimes – football and pubs – and it's now crucial that it focuses on a third, live music. For the good of the economy, the careers of emerging British artists, and the UK's global music standing, we must ensure that a live music industry remains when the pandemic has finally passed.
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