Stars from the UK’s dance music sector, alongside festivals, nightclubs, and industry figures are today issuing an urgent plea for support from the UK Government that the dance music clubs and events sector must be protected and recognised as an important part of the nation’s art and culture in parity with the wider Live Music sector, to ensure equal access to support.
“Nightclubs and festivals are the beating heart of the UK dance scene,” said Greg Marshall, General Manager, Association For Electronic Music (AFEM). “They collective joy to millions of fans each year, providing employment and incomes for an interdependent network of hundreds of thousands of people, while contributing hundreds of millions to the economy. We call on the government to recognise this sector as a significant part of the nation’s art and culture and ensure fair and equal access to the support offered to the wider live music sector.”
The call to the government comes since the announcement of a £1.57bn support package for Britain’s arts and culture sector. However, the government narrative to-date on the allocation of this support has not included nightclubs, dance music events and festivals to receive funding from this package for the arts.
“The NTIA warmly welcomes the announcement last week by the Government that £1.57bn will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations,” said Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA). “But we are keen to gain assurances from DCMS and Government that dance music venues and nightclubs will be eligible to apply for the funding and that it will not be reserved purely for venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the West End. The UK is home to a rich and diverse range of institutions, all of whom should be fairly entitled to this investment.”
The campaign is supported by a host of artists who are standing up for their art including; Adam Beyer, Andy C, Caribou, Charlotte De Witte, Daniel Avery, Eats Everything, Fatboy Slim, Four Tet, Danny Rampling, Irvine Welsh, Maya Jane Coles, Massive Attack, Mistajam, Norman Jay OBE, Pete Tong, Roni Size, Simone Butler (Primal Scream) and Thom Yorke. “The UK’s electronic music’s ecosystem is unique and wide ranging,” said Nick Sabine, the Co-Founder and CEO of Resident Advisor. “It’s built from a deeply interdependent network of organisations, large and mid-sized companies and thousands of micro-companies, freelancers, contract workers and the self-employed. At the centre of this environment are live events. Without significant government intervention to support nightlife and festival events one of the country’s most important cultural, social and economic sectors will be decimated forever. Looking further ahead, in a post-Brexit UK it is impossible to overstate how important a vibrant nightlife and festival culture will be for Britain to try and maintain a position of international cultural relevance in decades to come.”
The Culture Secretary has previously said he “would not let the arts down” as the creative industry recovers from the impact of Covid-19 but, when asked about potential support for music venues and festivals on the 9th July within Parliament, suggested funding would “cover grassroots music venues, concert halls and indoor arenas……those wholly or mainly used for performance of live music for the purposes of entertaining an audience”, with no mention of nightclubs or festivals.
“The UK is renowned internationally for its Dance Music Clubs and Festival culture,” said DJ/Producer, Maya Jayne Coles. “It must get the recognition it deserves and be given an equal opportunity to apply for the Arts & Culture funding, in line with Live Music and Classic arts sector. This also goes beyond just a love of music, for example, with the LGBTQIA+ family, for many people these are the only spaces where they can be entirely themselves and meet people like themselves without a threat of violence and hate.”
Dance music clubs and festival culture are a vital part of the British heritage as well as generating millions of pounds in revenue for the economy, it adds to the ever-growing nightlife tourism figures boasting 300 million visits a year across the UK. There are over 1600 nightclubs across the UK which play a significant role in supporting the wider The Night Time economy which generates 66 billion in revenue per annum (6% of the UK’s total). Festivals (across all genres) contribute £1.75bn GVA to the UK Economy annually and support 85,000 jobs.
But, because businesses are unable to operate under the current social distancing measures, dance festivals, events, and nightclubs are unlikely to take place again in the UK for the foreseeable future. Thousands of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for tens of thousands to follow this year. Until these businesses can operate again, government clarity on the roadmap for reopening safely and access to support for the arts will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and potential demise of this world-leading industry.
HOW YOU CAN GET INCOLVED
The entire dance music community, from world famous DJs to sound engineers, festivals, nightclubs and dance music fans across the industry are being asked to post photos of the last dance festival, dance event, or nightclub they attended under the banner #LetUsDance on Thurs 23 July in a show of support for the UK’s world-leading dance music industry and its contribution to arts & culture. You can also email your MP, to express your support for the industry and ask for their help. Find them here: www.ntia.co.uk/find-my-mp
Dance Music is the world’s third most popular music genre, with an estimated audience of over 1.5bn according to the IFPI. But, despite the global influence and economic importance of British dance music, government support and clarity on the future of the sector has been limited.