It has been heartening to see, in these unparalleled and deeply worrying times, key operators in some sectors standing shoulder to shoulder with each other to fight as one for the sake of their industry.
None more so than the alliances that have been recently forged within the whole of our hospitality, tourism, leisure and live music sectors.
A unification of mettle and minds, born out of desperation, rage and a sense of injustice which eventually forced the Financial Conduct Authority to act, set a date and bring a court action against insurance giants to London’s High Court for refusing to pay out on business interruption claims.
It will be a billion-pound day of destiny in a fortnight’s time, that will hopefully see justice served. This alliance has also brought about the contentious relaxation of the crippling two-metre social distancing rule.
It is a very welcome and desperately needed reduction for England’s struggling licensed, hotelier and tourist trades but one which our ultra-careful First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has steadfastly refused to consider.
But, in a week when it was announced that tens of thousands of jobs across all industries and sectors were being lost, and a cataclysmic economic depression loomed ever nearer, it was the massive Let the Music Play campaign and appeal that gladdened my heart. It gave me a bit of hope for the future, at least of live music.
Around 1,500 artists including music giants like Ed Sheeran, legends including The Rolling Stones, Sir Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Shirley Bassey, Annie Lennox, Rod Stewart and icons such as Liam Gallagher, Florence + the Machine, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden and Lewis Capaldi, joined thousands of live music venues, crew, production services, music press, labels, publishers, festival owners and every major UK and Scottish promoter to sing the same song. In a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, they appealed for more funding to protect this vital sector’s 210,000 jobs and the £4.5 billion it now generates.
Now unable to operate because of social distancing measures and with many concerts and festivals unlikely to take place again in the UK until 2021 at the earliest, hundreds of redundancies have been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow over the course of the year.
In the joint letter, the artists say: “Live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural and economic successes of the past decade.
“But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for all gigs, concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands who work in this industry looks bleak.”
It is an awesome, unifying and very powerful campaign to be part of and is unrivalled by anything in the music industry since Live Aid in 1985.
I desperately hope that it doesn’t fall on the deaf ears of government…and that the financial support is found, and that the beat goes on.
It’s taken another crisis, this time a pandemic, to pull the music industry together and act as one to try to get us through it.
What will it take for the UK and Scottish Governments to do the same before they inadvertently socially distance themselves from the electorate?