From Annie Lennox to the Rolling Stones to Paul McCartney and Depeche Mode, the biggest names in British music launched a call on Thursday to save the concert industry, whose survival is threatened by the crisis of the new coronavirus. In an open letter to British Culture Minister Oliver Dowden, 1,500 artists and music figures urge the government to act urgently.
Among the signatories are Dua Lipa, Skepta, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Sam Smith, Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Florence + The Machine, George Ezra, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Lewis Capaldi, Little Mix. Many were scheduled to perform on stage during the festival season, which was canceled due to the pandemic that claimed the lives of nearly 44,000 people in the UK, the heaviest death toll in Europe.
"The British scene has been one of the country's greatest social, cultural and economic successes in the past decade", emphasize the signatories. But without end of physical distancing measures on the horizon and without financial support, "The future of concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who live on them looks bleak".
210,000 jobs at stake
"Until these companies can work again, which is likely to happen in 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass bankruptcies and the end of this world leading industry.", they continue.
The signatories are calling for a timetable for the reopening of concert halls, a support plan and access to a credit facility as well as a total exemption from VAT on sales of concert tickets. According to a study backed by the open letter, the sector represents 210,000 jobs and its companies represented 4.5 billion pounds sterling in 2019 (5 billion euros).
"Proud" to have performed at all levels, from small clubs to large arenas, including festivals, singer Dua Lipa said in a statement that the possibility for other British artists "To follow the same path is in danger" without government assistance. "Impatient" to play again in front of his fans, Liam Gallagher stresses for his part that we must take care of the concert industry and people "Great" who make it live "Until we can play again on stage".