Radiohead, Coldplay, the Rolling Stones, and Over 1,400 More Artists Sign Open Letter in Support of #LetTheMusicPlay

    Radiohead, Coldplay, and the Rolling Stones are among the 1,500 artists who have signed an open letter to the government in support of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign in an effort to prevent “catastrophic damage” to the music industry in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Dua Lipa, Liam Gallagher, The Cure, Nick Cave, Paul McCartney, PJ Harvey, Ed Sheeran, and more also signed the letter, which warns of the devastating effects of COVID-19 on venues and artists.

    Addressed to Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, the letter reads: “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.”

    It adds: “This sector doesn’t want to ask for government help. The 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.”

    The letter also highlights that the live music industry supports 210,000 jobs across the country, and that venues, concerts, festivals and production companies contributed £4.5bn to the economy in 2019.

    “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,” it concludes.

    In an accompanying statement, Liam Gallagher added: “Amazing gigs don’t happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they’ll all be out of jobs unless we can get back out there doing what we love.”

    Dua Lipa said that she is “proud” to have worked her way up the music industry, but noted that “the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much needed government support.”

    Radiohead’s Ed O’ Brien expressed a similar sentiment, writing: “Radiohead played about 100 shows throughout the UK in small venues the length and breadth of this country. This was where we started to learn our craft. We continued to tour this country and by 1997 we were headlining the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival. The live industry in this country is the lifeblood to for the music industry in this country.”

    Emily Eavis, co-organiser of the Glastonbury festival, added: “If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.”

    A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport responded by saying that the government is “already providing unprecedented financial assistance which many music organisations and artists have taken advantage of.”

    In a statement on Twitter, Dowden added: “I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening. I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back. These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives.”

    Starting today (July 2), artists and venues have also started posting photographs and films of their last gig or event using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay on social media. Fans are also encouraged to show support for the campaign by posting about the last show they attended.

    Artists including Lionel Richie, Cher, Mogwai and more have already showed their support on social media. Read some of their tweets below.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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