Road map out of lockdown must include live music industry, warns UK Music

Some larger festivals such as Glastonbury have already cancelled for 2021.
Some larger festivals such as Glastonbury have already cancelled for 2021.

The Prime Minister’s road map out of lockdown must include a “laser-like focus” on live music, an industry body has warned.

UK Music said the expected announcement this month must be used to give “urgent clarity” on whether artists, venues and other industry workers can plan ahead for a summer of concerts.

Following widespread cancellations in 2020, some larger festivals such as Glastonbury have already halted their 2021 editions.

Coronavirus – Wed Feb 17, 2021
Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans for the easing of lockdown (Alastair Grant/PA)

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, which represents the collective interests of the music industry, said it was “fast reaching a critical point for the live music industry”.

He added: “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.”

Mr Njoku-Goodwin said music workers needed “a laser-like focus from the Government on how we can work together to get live music back as swiftly and safely as possible”.

“A restart date for live music would be hugely welcome,” he added.

“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.”

Aside from a small number of socially distanced performances, most live music has been on hold since March last year.

Boris Johnson has said rapid Covid-19 testing could help entertainment venues, such as theatres and nightclubs, start to welcome back customers once lockdown restrictions are eased.

UK Music has previously called for a range of measures to be put in place to help the industry get back up and running this year, including coronavirus cancellation insurance.

A Government spokesperson said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we want this lockdown to be the last, which is why we will seek to ease restrictions in a way that is cautious, but irreversible.

“We are working hard to get audiences back as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will publish our road map on Monday, after carefully reviewing the impact of current restrictions and the vaccine programme on infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

“No decisions have been made yet.”