UK Music chief calls for urgent government support after Glastonbury cancellation

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has called on the government for urgent financial support for the music industry in the wake of yesterday’s announcement that Glastonbury 2021 has been cancelled.

This is now the second consecutive year in which the legendary festival has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest cancellation strikes an especially heavy blow to the sector given the live industry’s hope that this summer would mark a return of music festivals in the UK. 

Njoku-Goodwin said: “This cancellation is devastating for all of us on both on a personal and professional level. It will have a serious impact on thousands of jobs right across the country and many jobs in the supply chains for Glastonbury. There is now a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the whole summer festival and live music season with the entire industry left in limbo and thousands more jobs in jeopardy.

“It is absolutely critical that the Government look at more financial support for the music industry and those who work in it as a matter of urgency. Without more Government help, there is a real risk that some of our world-leading music scene will disappear forever.

“The music industry is desperate to get back on its feet when we can operate safely. When the time comes for the post-pandemic recovery, we can play our role in our country’s economic and cultural revival. But until that point, we need more financial support to keep us going. If that support is not forthcoming, we will risk losing some of our finest emerging talent with the fear that COVID could rip a giant and permanent hole in the UK’s music scene and our cultural fabric.”

The announcement of this year’s Glastonbury cancellation came via a joint statement from Michael and Emily Eavis:

It remains to be see whether or not other scheduled tours and festivals scheduled for later in the year will follow suit. Reading and Leeds Festival is currently scheduled to take place from August 27-29, and while the festival runs a couple of months later than Glastonbury, the decision to call of the Worthy Farm event will undoubtedly set alarm bells ringing for Reading and Leeds organisers.

The new COVID variant has also wreaked havoc on the pro audio trade show calendar, with the annual NAMM Show currently taking place in the virtual realm instead of its traditional home in Anaheim, California, while the ISE show, set to make its debut outing at its new home in Barcelona this June (having postponed its original February dates), is looking increasingly unlikely to go ahead given the current crisis.

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