LONDON : Desperate times, desperate measure : Sheeran, Stones back urgent call to aid UK live music.

Some 1,500 acts including Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones urged the British government to save the country's Live Music industry from collapsing because of Coronavirus on Thursday.

Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Sam Smith, Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Iron Maiden, Dua Lipa, Skepta and Florence + the Machine were also signatories to an open letter warning that ongoing shutdown threatened thousands of jobs .

They cited new research showing that Live Music added Pound 4.5 billion to the British economy and supported 210,000 jobs across the country last year.

''UK live music has been one of its biggest social, cultural and economic successes of the decade,'' they wrote to culture minister Oliver Dowden.

''But with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from the government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundred and thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.''

Britain has suffered the deadliest outbreak of coronavirus in Europe, so far, with more than 54,000 confirmed or suspected deaths.

The government has been easing  stay-at-home -orders imposed in late March but while pubs, restaurants, and Museums will reopen this weekend, live music venues remain closed.

''Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021, at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this industry,'' the letter added.

The industry wants a clear timeline for reopening and venues without social distancing requirements and government support that includes extending the furlough scheme for workers who have been temporarily laid-off.

''Amazing gigs don't happen without an amazing team behind the stage, but they'll all be out of jobs unless we can get back there doing what we love,'' Gallagher said. [AFP]


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