#LetTheMusicPlay: More than 1400 artists call on government to act now to save UK's live music scene

(Image credit: UK Music)

More than 1400 artists from across the music world have sent an open letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, calling on him and the UK government to put immediate measures in place to secure the future of the UK’s live music scene.

It’s part of UK Music's wider #LetTheMusicPlay campaign and comes after it was recently reported that that 70% of UK music venues and theatres were at risk of permanent closure unless the government took action

That stark warning followed the Music Venue Trust’s #saveourvenues campaign in April to help support 556 venues threatened with permanent closure across the country.

Among the artists to sign the letter are the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Suzi Quatro, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck, Nick Mason, The Cure, Radiohead, Eric Clapton, Iron Maiden, Phil Collins, Bring Me The Horizon, Yes, The Darkness, Idles, Steve Hackett, Marillion, Mogwai, Skunk Anansie, Judas Priest, Bullet For My Valentine, Ray Davies, PJ Harvey and Enter Shikari.

Here’s the letter in full:

“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.”

Artists, fans and promoters are getting behind the social media campaign, with all music lovers urged to post pictures of the last show they attended before lockdown using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay.

Music fans are also encouraged to write to their local MP, asking them to call on the Chancellor to support Let The Music Play. Find your local MP here.

Earlier this year, a crowdfunding drive was set up to help support independent music venues across the UK by buying a virtual pint. The campaign is still running, with half of the money raised going to the Music Venue Trust, while the other half is going directly to help out smaller venues across the UK.

Here are 16 ways you can support the musicians, record stores, venues and music shops you love. Get involved.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.