Incorporated Society of Musicians Chief Executive Deborah Annetts, responding to the government announcement that indoor live performances can resume with socially distanced audiences from August 1, said:
“We welcome that indoor live performances can resume with socially distanced audiences from August 1, subject to the success of pilot studies, as part of the government’s five-stage roadmap for reopening.
However, with music venues operating on small profit margins, we know that the requirement for social distancing indoors does not work within the cultural sector’s financial model. Venues also require long lead in times to get shows up and running and so it remains to be seen if two weeks notice is feasible.
Despite being highly skilled, the majority of musicians are not highly paid and until live music venues can fully reopen without social distancing, musicians will not be able to fully return to work. If they do return, it is likely their income will be far less than before COVID-19 which is not sustainable.
We remain concerned that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is coming to end next month and musicians face the prospect of no further financial support as they transition back to work.
With live music one of the last sectors of the economy to reopen, the government must extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme until the end of the year. The music sector provides so much cultural and economic value to our country and without additional financial support for freelancers, we risk many of our most talented musicians leaving the industry.”