Northern Ireland

Eric Clapton backs Van Morrison’s call to 'save live music'

Eric Clapton (right) has joined Sir Van Morrison’s campaign to 'save live music'
Eric Clapton (right) has joined Sir Van Morrison’s campaign to 'save live music'

LEGENDARY musician Eric Clapton has joined Sir Van Morrison’s campaign to 'save live music'.

The three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame said he shared the concerns of the Belfast crooner about the impact current Covid-19 restrictions are having on the live music industry.

Clapton said he believes if action is not taken "live music might never recover".

It comes after Van Morrison launched a campaign to save the music industry and is donating profits from his new collection of anti-lockdown songs to musicians impacted by measures he claims do "more harm than good".

Money from downloads of Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out and No More Lockdown will be distributed by his arts charity, the Van Morrison Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

But the musician (75) has faced criticism for his trio of protest songs calling for an end to rules aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus.

The Stormont health minister Robin Swann described the lyrics as "dangerous", while a Belfast councillor called the singer to be stripped of the freedom of the city following his controversial intervention.

Now Clapton has voiced his support for Van Morrison's efforts to find solutions so venues can reopen at full capacity.

"It is deeply upsetting to see how few gigs are going ahead because of the lockdown restrictions," he said.

"There are many of us who support Van and his endeavours to save live music, he is an inspiration.

"We must stand up and be counted because we need to find a way out of this mess.

"The alternative is not worth thinking about. Live music might never recover."

Last week Van Morrison debuted his new tracks during three consecutive and socially distant shows at the London Palladium as he released the first of his three new anti-lockdown songs, Born To Be Free.

"Thanks to everyone who came to the Palladium shows and who have supported the new single," he said.

"The gigs were great and proved that live performance can operate safely.

"Now we need the government to ease restrictions further and instill confidence that venues are safe and enjoyable places to be for everyone."