The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


UK Music Industry Bodies Share Reactions To 'Freedom Day' Delay
Christian Eede , June 15th, 2021 12:22

The Music Venue Trust describes the four-week delay to the reopening of venues as "a crippling blow to the sector"

A number of music industry bodies and figures have shared their reactions to the four-week delay to the UK's so-called 'Freedom Day' which Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday (June 14).

Accepting that the protection of public health is "an over-arching issue which needs to be addressed and has primacy over other considerations," the Music Venue Trust described the delay as "a crippling blow" to the UK's music and events sector.

The organisation's statement, which you can read in full here added: "Over 4000 shows will be cancelled, losing tens of thousands of people, many of them unable to earn for over 15 months, the chance to get back to work. Huge amounts of work will need to go into rescheduling, cancellations, rebooking, refunds and managing customers, staff and artists. The delay will cost the sector £36 million, adding to the mounting pile of debt which this crisis has created.

"The government knows all this, because Music Venue Trust has been very careful to ensure that had [it] full details of the impact prior to the announcement. The government also knows that this delay provokes a crisis of confidence in key stakeholders within the sector, landlords, freeholders, service suppliers, creditors, which requires immediate action or we risk seeing a wave of evictions and business closures.

"A fund exists, described by the government as Cultural Recovery Fund Round Three, of £300 million. The government should immediately announce how that fund will be distributed, ensuring that it is done so swiftly and without the delays and bureaucracy that has beset previous rounds of this fund. Many venue operators have still not received funding promised to them for the period April to June, a situation we must not repeat to tackle this new delay."

The Night Time Industries Association echoed that the delay was "a hugely devastating blow for the very industries that have been hardest hit by this pandemic."

In a statement, the organisation's CEO, Michael Kill, said: "In a very real sense, the Prime Minister has 'switched the lights off' for an entire sector. Many businesses have not survived this pandemic and others are on a financial cliff-edge, unable to operate viably. Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost, a huge pool of creative talent has been swept away, and we have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship.

"Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, with thousands of businesses left to fall. This delay, which again offers no clarity on when businesses can open, is leaving many in the industry angry and frustrated, alongside other businesses who have been locked down or restricted from opening through no fault of their own, and at their own cost."

The NTIA's statement also included a number of requests from the UK government in order to support the ailing events sector through this latest delay. The organisation is calling for an extension of the rent moratorium to the end of 2021; an extension of VAT relief at five percent; and events and festival insurance cover; among other measures.

Under the UK government's latest guidelines, set out yesterday by Boris Johnson, clubs and bars will be able to open without social distancing guidelines from July 19.