16/03/2020: UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl called on the Prime Minister to deliver “urgent clarity” over the impact of the coronavirus clampdown on music events.
The demand follows the Prime Minister’s latest advice on mass gatherings which sparked confusion about exactly what it would mean for concerts and gigs.
The move comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the Government would no longer be “supporting” mass gatherings by using emergency workers.
As part of the new advice, the PM also advised people to avoid mass events such as concerts, pubs, clubs and theatres, but he stopped short of an official ban which means insurers could avoid paying out on losses.
Responding to the Prime Minister’s comments, UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said the latest advice had triggered “huge uncertainty” for both the public and the industry about future events and called on the Government for “urgent clarity”.
UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl said:
“Public safety remains the top priority for everyone involved in the UK music industry during this unprecedented health emergency.
“However, the Prime Minister’s latest advice on mass gatherings has resulted in huge uncertainty and confusion over what exactly it will mean for the music industry.
“We need urgent clarity from Government about what exactly these new changes will mean. The Government must spell out whether there will be a formal ban, when that might come into effect, which venues and events will be impacted and how long the measures will remain in place.
“The virus is having a catastrophic impact on the UK music industry and will threaten many jobs and businesses right across our sector.
“As well as clarity, we need swift action from the Government to mitigate the immense damage and disruption this will cause to our music industry that is the envy of the world.
“Unless music businesses and venues get help fast to get them though this desperately difficult period, the sad reality is the vital businesses and much loved venues will go to the wall.
“UK Music will continue to speak to Government and will be working with our members to do all we can to press for help and work towards getting our industry back on its feet as quickly as possible.
“We will continue to follow and support Government advice on coronavirus and urge everyone to listen to medical and scientific advice.”
Mr Kiehl said that the Government must look at what support it could offer festivals and other live music events who would now be forced to cancel hundreds of events.
Last week, Mr Kiehl wrote to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to urge him to put in place a framework of support for the music industry to combat the impact of coronavirus.
Grassroots music venues are already suffering a 27% downturn in attendances, according to the latest figures from the Music Venue Trust. The Association of Independent Festivals report that ticket sales for its members are down on average by 44% since the start of the pandemic.
In his letter to the Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Mr Kiehl mapped out a seven-point plan to limit the damage to the music industry.
Mr Kiehl said it was vital that ministers focused on seven key areas including: giving VAT ‘holidays’ to support music businesses; further extending business rates relief; helping the 72% of those in the music industry who are self-employed; compensation schemes in the event of cancellations; and holding insurance companies to account.