​5,000 attend UK-wide rallies calling on further government support of music industry

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5,000 people attended UK-wide rallies over the weekend calling on the government for further support across cultural sectors and the extension of business relief rates.

Six pop-up events took place on Sunday across London, Bristol, Brighton, Cardiff, Edinburgh, and Leeds, each organised by Save Our Scene, a campaign group supporting the live music sector.

The rallies took place as part of the Culture Calling campaign urging the government to reassess the upcoming budget on November 22 and reduce VAT to 12.5% for the hospitality and cultural sectors.

Read this next: UK budget “overlooks thousands of independent night time economy businesses”

“This Sunday showed a growing resistance to the ongoing crisis our cultural spaces are experiencing,” says George Fleming, founder of Save Our Scene.

A recent report from CGA Neilson revealed that over 100 of the UK’s independent nightclubs have closed down in the last 12 months, while the Music Venue Trust expects the UK to lose 10% of grassroots music venues by the end of 2023.

Data collected suggests that more than 30% of clubs in the UK closed between June 2020 and June 2023, 12% of that in the last 12 months alone. Check out the report below.

“We hosted Culture Calling as a campaign to raise awareness of the accelerating collapse of cultural spaces across the country,” he tells Mixmag. “With the sharp rise in operating costs, we’re seeing a huge amount of closures across the sector.”

Read this next: How the Cost of Living Crisis is Impacting Nightclubs and Promoters

More than 3,500 emails have been sent to MPs urging for support of the sector as part of the Culture Calling campaign, which has garnered support from the likes of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), and Sacha Lord, the founder of Manchester’s Warehouse Project and Parklife Festival.

“We did pop-up style events to highlight that our culture is something which cannot be shut down,” says Fleming. “UK art and culture is the lifeblood of our country. We truly depend on it.

“This is not just about protecting artists & venues, it’s also about protecting our right to be free and human. The UK Government needs to urgently recognise that this precious sector is on red alert.”

Find out more about the Culture Calling campaign here.

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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