Thursday, May 14, 2020

Live left to die?

And so the news we really didn't want to hear has come to pass: Green Man has been cancelled, just two days after the plug was also pulled on the Reading and Leeds festivals. In truth, the writing has been on the wall for some time and it was only a matter of when, not if, the announcement was made - but that doesn't prevent me from moping. Last year's event marked my long-overdue return to the realm of Proper Festivals and was an absolute blast, and this year's bash promised much - not least a first opportunity to see Ty Segall in the flesh.

The organisers are promising that the festival will return in 2021 and have made clear that all tickets will remain valid. If, like us, you're in the fortunate position to be able to do so, please do show your support by holding on to your ticket rather than requesting a refund.

I'm trying to avoid dwelling on the depressing news stories, but sometimes it's hard not to. The fact is that a sector that was valued at a record £1.1 billion as recently as November is now staring apocalypse in the face, with a reported 98 per cent of the members of the Association of Independent Festivals lacking the insurance to cover cancellation in the case of a pandemic.

If there's a tiny glimmer of hope, it's that live music lovers are clearly doing what they can, with many choosing not to seek refunds - but sadly that will not be enough. Government bailouts are urgently needed in the form of loans and furlough funding (and changes that ensure wider eligibility) - but it remains to be seen whether the live music industry's pleas will be heard amid the general clamour for emergency financial assistance.

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