Stars from the UK’s Dance Music sector, including artists such as Massive Attack, Eats Everything, Andy C, Roni Size, Danny Rampling and Maya Janes Coles alongside festivals, nightclubs, and industry figures such as Pete Tong, Thom Yorke and Irvine Welsh are today issuing an urgent plea for support from the UK Government that the dance music clubs & 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.
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 benefitting from this funding package.
“The UK is renowned internationally for its Dance Music Clubs and Festival culture, if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have my career, 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.” Maya Jane Coles said, “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.”
The UK 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.
Dance music clubs and festival culture are a vital part of the British heritage. Ever-growing nightlife tourism figures boast 300 million visits a year to over 1600 nightclubs across the UK which play a significant role in supporting the wider 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. 1000s of redundancies have already been made, with the potential for many many more. We reported on two clubs facing difficulty this week which have now been saved by an events group who operate across the country.
Night Time Industries Association CEO, Micheal Kill is very clear: “The NTIA warmly welcomes the announcement last week by the Government that £1.57bn will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations. 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.”
Until these businesses can operate safely, government clarity on the roadmap for reopening will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and potential demise of this world-leading industry. 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 Thursday 23rd July in a show of support for the UK’s world-leading dance music industry and its contribution to arts & culture.
“London’s dance venues and nightclubs are the envy of the world.” said London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé,“They are a social hub for so many communities and a key part of our economy at night, but the Government has failed to provide them with specific support or give an indication of when they can open their doors again.”
Her sentiments are echoed by Warehouse Project CEO and Manchester Nightlife Advisor Sasha Lord: “There has always been an elitist snobbery towards Electronic and Dance Music, however, I would argue that this sector reaches more people in terms of culture, as some of our theatres do.”
UK residents can also lobby their local MPs with the help of the NTIAs ‘Find My MP’