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Boris Johnson’s COVID-19 reopening roadmap must include live events, says UK Music chief

UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has urged UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to include live music in his COVID-19 reopening roadmap to help save jobs and boost the economy.

Njoku-Goodwin issued a rallying call ahead of the Prime Minister’s reopening roadmap, which is expected on Monday and will detail the government’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions and reopen the economy. 

The Prime Minister’s expected COVID-19 reopening roadmap announcement next week (Monday, February 22) will detail how the Government plans to ease lockdown and reopen the economy in the weeks ahead. 

The UK music industry, which provides jobs for 200,000 people and contributes £5.8 billion a year to the UK economy, has been devastated by the pandemic, especially on the live events side of the market, as new research from We Make Events shows that 43 per cent of businesses could be forced to close by June of this year.

Njoku-Goodwin said the Prime Minister should use his roadmap to give the live music industry the “urgent clarity” it needs to plan for summer and save thousands of jobs that are “at risk of being lost forever”. 

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“We are fast reaching a critical point for the live music industry,” he said. “If festivals and large events are forced to cancel for another year, many will go under and thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost forever. 

“We are not asking to reopen a moment before it is safe to do so, but if our sector is to survive through this pandemic then we require urgent clarity about the months ahead and some indication of when live music will be able to return. 

“We have done a huge amount to reduce the risk of Covid transmission by working with the Government to develop safe working practices, engaging on testing pilots and by looking at all possible options to make festivals and venues as safe as possible. 

“What we need now is a laser-like focus from the Government on how we can work together to get live music back as swiftly and safely as possible. 

“A restart date for live music would be hugely welcome.  The long lead time involved in planning festivals and other events makes this crucial. At the very least, we need clarity about the conditions under which we would be allowed to get live events under way again.

“The vaccination rollout has been a huge success and case rates are going in the right direction – but without certainty about when live music will be allowed to operate again, many businesses and organisations in our sector and the wider supply chain will struggle to survive.

“When the time for the post-pandemic recovery comes, the UK’s world-leading music industry can be a key part of our country’s economic and cultural revival.

“Live music brings massive economic benefits right across the country, often to communities where they are crucial to local employment and trade by creating extra business for hotels, taxi firms, restaurants, bars and many more. 

“But for us to play that positive role in the post-pandemic recovery, and help provide the economy with the shot in the arm it will desperately need, our industry requires urgent clarity on the likely road ahead.”

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