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The UK live sector is "on the verge of collapsing" due to Omicron, study finds

Industry leaders are calling on the government for more support

  • Aneesa Ahmed
  • 20 December 2021
The UK live sector is "on the verge of collapsing" due to Omicron, study finds

A new survey conducted by LIVE has found that there has been a "devastating loss" in terms of attendance, cancellations, and ticket shows at events since the outbreak of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The survey found that 70% of organisers have had to postpone performances that were scheduled to take place in the previous week.

Read this next: Estimated 40% of ticket holders aren't showing up to music events

Huge names in music such as Lil Nas X and Coldplay have had to postpone their shows.

According to We Rave You, a LIVE spokesperson said: “These statistics paint a bleak picture for the sector which is why it’s absolutely vital that the government provides additional support immediately.

"We need urgent assistance to avoid the live music industry running into the ground, forcing venues to shut up shop and a Christmas of Misery with job losses, and freelancers and artists without work.

"We also face a double-whammy as next year’s sales take a nosedive, meaning organisers do not have the cash needed to cover soaring costs as they struggle to stay afloat while operating at a loss".

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Last week it was reported that DJs and artists are currently seeing up to 40% no-shows at gigs as COVID cases skyrocket.

Venues such as Printworks have cancelled shows due to concern over the variant and how rapidly it spreads. The London venue said in a statement that they have come to this decision for the "wellbeing of those who attend and work" there.

Read this next: England makes COVID status mandatory for nightclub entry

The BBC reports that Scotland's live music venues are in grave danger of closing unless further financial assistance is provided.

Nick Stewart, director of Edinburgh's Sneaky Pete's nightclub, thinks that smaller venues would be forced to close permanently unless the government intervenes, either by the restoration of furlough or increased funds.

According to the Music Venue Trust, while this time of year often accounts for 20% of a UK grassroots music venue's yearly revenue, many are now facing "permanent closure".

Since its study revealed that the industry is losing roughly £2 million, the Trust has appealed for "specific funding".

Read this next: 86,000 jobs have been lost in the nightlife sector due to the pandemic

In response to the impacts created by Omicron, The Musicians Union have also published new guidance to those who have had to cancel gigs.

“As it stands, the rules relating to live performances have not changed, and so on the face of it bookings should stand. If and when the rules do change, please be assured we will work to keep our advice up to date for you,” the statement reads.

“If you are already facing the threat of cancellations due to the Omicron variant, then please contact your regional office in the first instance".

Read this next: How New Zealand beat COVID and got back to raving

Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter

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