Where? Parliament Square, London; Centenary Square, Birmingham. When? Tuesday 6 October, 12 noon.
Time to show parliament what's what in the music world, which is in graver peril than ever before. Under the auspices of a new banner, Let Music Live, convened by violinist Jessie Murphy, 400 professionals - chiefly freelancers, as most are - will be setting out to show that music is still alive and ready to work...
The arts culture sector contributes enormous amounts to the UK economy every year, but has yet to receive anything more than a kick in the teeth from the government. Despite that promise of £1.57bn of help, months later not much actual money has yet been distributed to the people who need it - if any. And that's the ones who do "qualify". Even performers who are household names in the musical and theatrical worlds have had no work or income since March and still fall through the "safety net", such as it is, "qualifying" for no support whatever.
Please note that due to social distancing restrictions numbers are strictly controlled. Anyone who wants to attend Parliament Square must please contact the organisers first at firstname.lastname@example.org.
400 freelance professional musicians from all parts of the industry will be joined in support by leading musical figures including David Hill, Raphael Wallfisch, Emma Johnson and Tasmin Little, to perform in Parliament Square and Centenary Square, Birmingham, shining a light on the need for targeted support for freelance musicians and all those who work in the arts and entertainment sector. They are also joined in solidarity by the Musicians' Union, The Musicians' Answering Service, Emily Eavis and more.
Conducted by renowned director David Hill in Parliament Square, the freelance musicians will perform a short section of 'Mars' from Holst's The Planets before standing in silence for two minutes. The 20% of the piece that they will perform represents the maximum 20% support that freelancers receive from the government through the SEISS grant. The two-minute silence represents the 45% of musicians currently not covered by the SEISS grant (MU). The event will be Covid-safe, adhering strictly to social distancing regulations, facilitated by support from #WeMakeEvents.
The arts and culture industry contributes £10.8 billion a year directly to the UK economy (ONS), with growth in creative industries previously running at five times that of the rest of the economy. With effective short-term support, freelance musicians will continue to make a positive impact.
For every £1 directly spent on music and events, an extra £2 is generated in the wider economy (ACE), powering a network of businesses across the country. Supporting freelance musicians means supporting the wider economy.
Let Music Live calls on the Government:
- to recognise that freelance musicians are an economic asset. It is essential they invest in freelancers so that they can continue to support the intricate network of businesses that rely on arts and events for their footfall.
- for sector-specific support to reopen, including a subsidised concert ticket scheme while social distancing restrictions remain, and Government-backed insurance for live events and theatre performances.
- for targeted support for those skilled workforces forced to remain closed by Covid restrictions, so that freelance musicians are still there to bring music to everyone when this is over.