After months of feeling the catastrophic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, UK music venues have finally had some good news. In a recent announcement the government has pledged £1.57 billion of funding to the arts and culture industries, which will be allocated in a mixture of grants and repayable loans over the course of the next financial year until April 2021.
The initiative, which has been described by the HM Treasury as the “biggest ever one-off investment in UK culture”, follows recent campaigns by leaders of the music industry, who have collectively pushed for financial aid from the government in light of the pandemic.
We thought it might be useful for our UK music event organisers if we answered some of the questions that have risen in light of this new initiative:
So, who exactly is the arts funding package aimed at?
The £1.57 billion is to be aimed at helping theatres, music venues and heritage arts venues to survive the Covid-19 crisis. And while it’s intended to save the “crown jewels” of the UK’s arts scene, like the Royal Albert Hall and national galleries, it’ll also be going towards keeping local and grassroots venues afloat. In short, if you work in the underground music scene, there’s every chance you’ll benefit from this too.
It’s not yet clear who’s going to get what at this stage, but we do know that £270 million of the money will be repayable finance, while the other £880 million will be given as grants.
How do music venues apply?
If you run a music venue or organisation, you’ll need to apply through industry bodies for your loan or grant. The government has stated that those applying will be asked to prove how they contribute to the wider economic growth of the country.
Is this going to save Britain’s music industry?
We really hope so! It’s certainly a sizable step in the right direction. The UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, however, is warning us to recognise the gravity of the current situation, and did state that the financial injection won’t be enough to save every job across the arts and culture sectors.
What about the different regions?
Unfortunately, it’s all a bit up in the air at the minute, as it’s not yet been confirmed exactly how the money will be split between competing venues and organisations, or how it’ll all work when it comes to the regions of Britain. We expect to be hearing more on this from the government when they announce how exactly applications will be made.
When can music venues open?
Ah. This is where it gets tricky. If you’re in the music events industry, you’ll undoubtedly be aware of the current debate happening around ‘one-rule-for-them, another-rule-for-us’. Essentially – why is it now ok for people to sit next to each other on notoriously cramped airline seats, but not ok for them to go to a concert at the Manchester Arena? The question has been skirted around by the government, but Prime Minister Boris Johnson did recently announced that music venues will be able to reopen their doors from 1st August for “socially distanced events”.
This, paired with the new funding, is hopefully a spark of light at the end of the tunnel.