Live Music Update: musical protests, #WeMakeEvents and a target date for re-starting live music?


It will be a long time until the UK’s live music sector returns to what it was pre-pandemic. The MIA continue to support and work with our friends and partners at organisations such as PLASA, The MU and Music Venue Trust. Our own part of the music industry depends on Britain’s globally renowned live music scene. Here’s an update on some musical protests that happened earlier this week, the #WeMakeEvents campaign and some news about a potential target date for re-starting live music…

Hundreds of musicians protest outside Parliament

A 400-strong ensemble of freelance musicians played outside Parliament to highlight the plight of the music industry during the current pandemic.

Violinists Nicola Benedetti and Tasmin Little were among the performers who played a short segment of Mars, from Holst’s The Planets, in central London. They then held a two-minute silence, to put pressure on the government to give more support to self-employed artists.

A concurrent protest took place outside Birmingham’s Symphony Hall.

The events were organised by our friends and partners at the Musicians Union, which represents more than 32,000 performers in the UK. It says 70% of its members have lost more than three-quarters of their regular work during the lockdown, leaving many in financial hardship.

Freelance musicians, who make up 72% of the sector, are particularly affected. Almost half of them are not eligible for grants under the government’s current self-employed income support scheme, the union says.

Standing in Parliament Square, the protestors played for just 90 seconds – approximately 20% of Holst’s Mars – to represent the maximum of 20% support that eligible freelancers can claim from the government.

Benedetti, who filmed the performance for her Twitter feed, called the moment “unimaginably moving”.

You can read more from BBC News:

#WeMakeEvents Global Day of Action

The MIA have been proud to support the vital #WeMakeEvents campaign. A huge thank you to all of our members who have supported, shared and attended days of action! The Global Day of Action was on September 30th, and #WeMakeEvents was felt all around the world.

Countries from across the globe came together in solidarity to highlight the plight that is currently facing the worldwide live events industry. In total, over 25 countries took part at 8pm local time, with activations delivering a range of creative responses, such as lighting iconic buildings in red to highlight how the industry is in red alert, as well as beaming shafts of white light into the sky to highlight the mass job losses.

The action started in New Zealand and Australia, where key landmarks such as the Auckland Sky Tower, The Domain in Sydney and Perth’s Matagarup Bridge were illuminated. The red wave then moved through other countries including India, the Philippines, Greece, Turkey, Poland, Austria, Norway and South Africa, to name but a few.

The event also received the support of many high-profile artists who used their social media channels to raise additional awareness. These included Coldplay, Radiohead, Fatboy Slim, James Bay, Noel Gallagher, Mumford and Sons and Eddie Izzard to name but a few. With such vast coverage and the campaign’s vital message being heard on a global scale, it is hoped that the respective governments will work with the live events industry and provide the support it needs.

Here’s an image of the red lighting on some of the iconic buildings, which highlights how the industry is in red alert:

The momentum of recent activities will continue over the next weeks and months as #WeMakeEvents moves into Restart, the next phase of creative action. More details will follow and we will keep you updated.

Find out more about #WeMakeEvents here:

A target date for re-starting live music?

There has been much reported in the press about the new future of live music, and here’s an interesting article where Stuart Galbraith tells Music Week of his hopes that full-capacity shows in the UK will get the go-ahead to resume next spring.

Stuart is the boss of Kilimanjaro Live, which is a group of companies that work in the fields of Music, Comedy, Spoken Word, Digital Stars and Musical Theatre based in the UK. They are one of the largest event promoters in the UK. Stuart is also the vice-chair of the Concert Promoters Association

Speaking to Music Week, Stuart revealed that he has earmarked 8th April as the target restart date. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“We’ve got some big asks still of government and we really need to focus upon those,” he said. “Number one is a date, when can we get going? And I think that we should be pushing for a date that is April 8. The reason I say that is a) it’s immediately after Easter and b) I think government will be able to find that acceptable – I think it will fit in with political and society agendas. It’s midweek, so it’s not going to be a date you’re going to see people go crazy on, like a Saturday, and we could ease into it.”

Apart from a number of reduced capacity, socially distanced shows, the UK’s live music industry has been in a state of paralysis since the live music shutdown in March. But in the wake of tightened Covid-19 restrictions by the government, Galbraith acknowledged a return to any sort of normality was still at least six months away.

You can read the full article on Music Week’s website here: