A call for the Northern Ireland Executive to work with the live music sector to approve applied safety measures allowing the recommencement of live music.
In her introduction to a report by UK Music, published in 2019, RT Hon Nicky Morgan, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport declared that the live music industry contributed £5.2 billion to the UK economy and supported upwards of 190,000 full-time employees, not to mention the vast number of highly skilled self-employed contractors who alone make up 72% of the industry.
The restrictions currently imposed by the Northern Ireland Executive are needlessly crippling the livelihoods of all those people who are part of the live music eco-system – the promotors, managers, hauliers, lighting technicians, sound mixers, caterers and equipment hire firms to name but a few.
Venues themselves cannot survive the way things are going. They need to be near capacity to break even. Live music will never recover. Venues will shut forever, and people will be forced to retrain and find new jobs – if there are any left.
This is not a matter of health versus wealth, the two cannot be separated. Without a thriving private sector, there will be no taxes to sustain public sector funding. With an economy in tatters, the ensuing poverty levels will have well documented long-term health impacts on society and there will be no NHS to speak of when we will need it most.
It is vital for the industry, and for the long-term physical and mental health of society that venues are allowed to reopen for live music. We understand this has to be done safely and pilot events across the UK have proven this is possible. Venues have spent millions of pounds on the implementation of additional safety measures to be able to operate in line with government guidance, only to be shut down again. With no end to restrictions in sight, we must be able to operate in a way that allows us to reopen now.
The Executive has refused to quantify the economic impact of their restrictions, but the damage that they will cause cannot be overlooked.
We are asking the government to support in word and deed, a timeline and roadmap for the recommencement of live music. Help us to safeguard the future of our industry and in turn, help the public sector thrive.