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Opinion Music by the many for the many

SAM SWEEK highlights the devastation Tory policies have visited on the music industry

WE ARE facing the biggest decline in living standards in living memory.

Millions of people up and down the country are now dependent on foodbanks, with over 100,000 having to access warm banks each week and many more are taking on multiple jobs just to keep the radiators on in their homes and to put food on their table.  

Over a decade of austerity, cuts and the Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll on almost every single aspect of modern society.  The lasting negative impact of the cost of living crisis remains to be seen but, for the live music and entertainment industry, it may just be the latest hammerblow to a sector where serious financial issues have gone unaddressed for too long.

Last month, the Music Venues Trust released its annual report for the year 2022 which highlighted the fragility of the British live music industry, which brings in £500m to the UK economy and has a total sector expenditure of just over £499m — leaving a profit margin of just 0.2 per cent.

This, shockingly, is despite 22 million of us enjoying live music performances last year.

It is fair to say that, without urgent action from the government, we could lose a number of important community assets that account for over 30,000 jobs and an incalculable music heritage in towns and cities in every part of the country.

This is part of a much wider and grimmer picture when you think about the iconic venues we’ve lost over the years; the Astoria in London, the Hacienda in Manchester, the Arches in Glasgow and the Cockpit in Leeds to name just a few.

Some of the most influential artists of all time and some of the biggest names of today made their names in those beloved music venues and, ultimately, proud history alone was not enough to save them.

We owe it to the next generation’s Adele, Dave and Joy Division to protect and expand the creative spaces that nurtured, developed and championed their voices.

That is why the Peace & Justice Project is launching Music For The Many, a campaign to bring our communities together in defence of the live music scene and the invaluable contribution it can make to our society.

We will be kicking it all off at The Lexington, Islington/London, on Tuesday April 4 with a very special live launch event featuring performances and guest speakers.  

From the talent on the stage, to those working behind the scenes to put on the best show possible, we will celebrate those in sound, lighting and staging, as well as the bar staff and security who do their best to keep us safe.

Music For The Many will highlight the experiences and struggles those hoping to break into the artistic industry face, including those in marginalised communities, and provide them with a platform for expression, creativity and passion.

We will bring together trade unions, community groups and people from all walks of life, united in our demands for a fair deal for the arts — and we will win.

This is music for the many, by the many.  

Tickets for the Music For The Many live launch are available here.

Samuel Sweek is media & communications co-ordinator at The Peace & Justice Project.

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