Covid-19 has had an impact worldwide, affecting most of the music industry. The UK government set up a furlough scheme to help artists and key members in the live music and theatre industries ensuring many workers are paid 80% of their wages up to £2500. This Job Retention scheme is set to finish at the end of October, but will this be enough for the live music industry to continue?
A petition has been launched to extend the furlough scheme. Although many venues are open (following social distance rules), the majority across the UK are still not able to host events even with the rules and restrictions in place.
Although the petition has been created, there are worries the furlough scheme may not continue due to the government’s funding of 1.57 billion for the UK arts industries. The loan was given after artists and industry figures such as Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi and many more gathered to be part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign urging the government to stop the damage that was happening to live music. Last month, many music industry workers marched in Manchester city centre for the #WeMakeEvents campaign, urging the government to provide and support employees in the touring and festival event sectors. The #WeMakeEvents campaign was launched to increase awareness of the crisis that these sectors are facing, 114,000 jobs are at risk.
If the furlough scheme ends, more redundancies will be made across the sector and the industry will continue to lose money. Crew members who help shape the events in live music may have to leave the music industry to support themselves. The effects of Coronavirus have damaged the industry immensely and we may never recover or catch up to how it was last year. Andy Lethal told NME that between October 2020 and March 2021, the industry will lose approximately £60-70 million, this is where the government is being urged to step in to support. The industry is worth 5.2 billion a year, losing 60 million in just six months is something it won’t be able to recover from.
The petition currently has over 30,000 signatures and needs at least 100.000 to be considered for debate in Parliament. Please sign it here.