UK Music: “The music industry can play a key role in the post-pandemic economic and social recovery”

Boris Johnson nightclubs press conference

UK Music’s CEO has responded to Boris Johnson’s proposed roadmap out of Covid-19 restrictions – and the summer reopening of clubs.

Yesterday (22 February), Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his four-step plan on easing Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. He suggested that if cases continue to fall, nightclubs and festivals can reopen from 21 June at the earliest. Many organisations and businesses working within the live music sector and the wider industry have since responded to the Prime Minister’s announcement.

In a new statement, UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin welcomed Johnson’s announcement. He stated: “It is fantastic news for the 200,000 people working in the music industry and millions of music fans that we are just a few months away from live music bursting back onto stages.”

Back in January, UK Music released a report entitled Let The Music Play: Save Our Summer 2021. The report outlined its strategy on how best to restart the live music industry when safe to do so later this year. Among the key measures UK Music called on the government to bring in were targeted financial support for the live industry, “an indicative date for a full capacity restart” for venues and festivals and an extension to the VAT rate reduction on tickets.

“The prospect of there being no legal impediments to live music events means issues like insurance are now even more pressing. They now present one of the final barriers to getting events going this summer,” continued Njoku-Goodwin in UK Music’s response to the Prime Minister. “The industry has worked tirelessly with the government to explore testing, better ventilation and many other innovative solutions to help lift the pause button, which has crippled our industry for the past year.” [sic]

“We will now continue to work with the government on pilot schemes to ensure a safe, consistent and successful approach to getting live music back in our communities as soon as possible.” [sic]

“While the astounding success of the vaccine rollout means the end of the health emergency is in sight, the economic toll of this pandemic will be with us for a long time to come – making dynamic growth industries like the UK music industry more important than ever.”

“The music industry can play a key role in the post-pandemic economic and social recovery, and live music events could be the shot in the arm that Britain needs as we look to bounce back from this pandemic.”

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, said, “We are pleased to hear within the Prime Minister’s statement the inclusion of a timeline for night-time economy businesses, in particular some of the hardest hit businesses, many of which have been closed since March 2020, like nightclubs, bars and casinos.”

However, Kill has insisted that the nightlife sector “urgently needs additional clarity” on reopening, and “critical financial support” to avoid economic and social consequences that “will last a generation.” He added: “Our evidence suggests that 85% of those who work in the night-time economy are considering leaving the sector.” NTIA’s statement follows its recent warning that over 80% of UK clubs will not survive past February.

Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust, also stressed the importance of financial support. He commented: “It is good to hear the government provide conditions under which initially socially distanced events, and then fuller capacity events, can take place.”

“Based on this information, it is now possible to imagine how we Revive Live in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of our domestic music scene. We note that this roadmap once again singles out live performance events as a specific risk which require that the sector is treated in a special way. Since March 2020, we have made the case to the government that if this is the case, based on their interpretation of the data, then it is logical that the government will choose to address that specific status with sector specific financial support to mitigate the damage being done to businesses and people’s lives, careers and families right across the live music industry.” [sic]

“The budget next week must clearly lay out exactly how the government is going to provide that sector specific support. We warmly welcome the government’s acknowledgement of the value of nightlife, committing to not reinstating a curfew and including nightclubs within the reopening timetable.” [sic]

Earlier this month it was announced that Music Venue Trust was involved in a new ‘health passport’ trial which has been approved by the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The first trials are taking place in two music venues in the UK.

Read UK Music’s full response to Boris Johnson’s latest announcement here.