New Year Message: 2024’s not just about the election


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Happy New Year from us all at LIVE!

2023 provided further proof that the live music industry does not stand still.  New venues, new artists and production innovation all played their part in delighting millions.  We were never out of the headlines: be that Burna Boy becoming the first African artist to headline a UK stadium, Taylor Swift causing an earthquake or the huge demand for tickets being cited as a cause of inflation. For LIVE, 2023 was a year when we cemented in the minds of policymakers our position as a serious economic contributor, a bringer of joy and a source of soft power for the UK on the global stage.  The Chancellor cited our sector as one of his priority areas for growth while his colleagues at DCMS and DBT demonstrated their commitment to live music through increased funding and support services.  At the same time, Labour pledged to deliver further support to our sector and secure improved touring arrangements with the EU should they form the next Government
2024 is, of course, an election year.  And that presents LIVE with an opportunity to turn this goodwill into further commitments and action across a number of policy areas.  As set out in our LIVE Manifesto, we are seeking a partnership with Government that will enable all across the live music ecosystem to thrive. Live music is loved (just 10% of Brits do not consider attending gigs) and the appetite for shows is strong (we are worth in excess of £5bn and delivered one gig every four minutes in 2022).  But with pressure building, most notably at the grassroots, Government intervention is needed if we are to nurture and benefit from the independent venues and festivals that are a vital part of our sector and the artists and crew that play and work there. 

More needs to be done if we are to maintain our enviable position as one of the music powerhouses across the globe.  Touring (international and domestic) remains unnecessarily complicated and expensive, festival margins are under pressure and the drastic situation for too many of our grassroots venues is all too apparent. Pressure is building and we need to work together as a sector and with Government if it is to be eased.  Improve EU touring arrangements, expand support for artists and reduce the uncompetitive, unfair and stifling 20% VAT rate on tickets and our sector will perform stronger than ever.  More tours, more shows and thriving venues and festivals will bring more colour to our lives and drive economic activity in towns and cities across the country.  And with 10,000 people at a gig spending £1million in the local economy and 10,000 festival goers spending £250,000 in the area outside the festival, that is a lot of activity.

As we kick off 2024, our message to all parties is simple, remove the barriers and watch us deliver world class shows and economic growth.  We will be taking that message to all candidates at the next election and into Westminster and Whitehall.  Please do your bit by sharing the LIVE Manifesto with your local MPs and candidates.

2024: Not just about the election

While the next general election dominates political thinking, the reality is that we could still be 10 or 11 months away from going to the polls.  That means there is still a lot to work on right now.  In March, the Chancellor will give his last Budget before the election … will that mean positive moves to support our sector?  Also in the first half of the year, the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee will be holding a short inquiry into grassroots music venues.  That is likely to increase calls for targeted support.  Officials across Government will continue to work on ways to improve current EU touring arrangements … from EU-level interventions, through bilateral agreements and on to increased funding and support, all options are being reviewed.  And colleagues in the Home Office continue to develop plans for the Terrorism (Protection of Premises) Bill, a complex and wide-ranging piece of legislation that needs to be carefully framed to meet its objectives.  Across all these issues, and much more, LIVE will continue to represent our sector, seeking to find the outcomes that deliver the best operating environment for our artists, venues, festivals and the wider ecosystem.

LIVE Talks: Building on a strong 2023

As we reflect on this year’s fantastic line-up of LIVE Talks and the thousands of people from across our industry who have accessed, learnt and benefitted from the sessions, we would like to say a huge thanks to all of our workshop partners who are the crux to making this programme so successful, covering all angles of EDI, mental health and sustainability. Thank you to Tamsin Embleton and the MITC, everyone at Music Support, EDI ambassador Saskhia Menendez, Antonia and Tony from Come Play With Me, Teresa from A Greener Future, the team at Tonic Rider, Nadu Placca and the incredible panel from ABEP, and Cassie and Anna from PiPA.

None of this would be possible without the support of our wonderful committed partners: Live Nation, Kilimanjaro Live, SJM Concerts, Serious, AEG and Utilita Arena. We hope to see lots more of our industry raising their hands in 2024 to become supporters of the programme, to show their willingness to join in helping push positive change across the sector and beyond.
In 2024, we will be running talks with PRS Foundation’s Power UP & Keychange initiatives, intersectionality and data with Saskhia Menendez and sessions on neurodiversity, accent bias, socio-economic status and more. And we will be kicking off the programme with a session on ‘Flipping the Script: Breaking Down Barriers for Disabled People’ with Attitude is Everything, details below.

Dismantling the barriers faced by disabled people begins with the language we use and the way we communicate with one another. Join Dominique Gibson from Attitude is Everything as we introduce the social model of disability to help understand the barriers faced by disabled people in the music industry, and discuss the impact of language as an inclusive or discriminatory tool.   
Date: Thursday 18th January 2024
Time: 12pm – 1pm GMT
Location: Online
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LIVE Awards: Looking back on another excellent evening

Thanks again to the near 600 people from across the live music industry who came to recognise and reward all those who had delivered excellence in 2023.  A packed Troxy was treated to a joyous evening, hosted by the excellent Thaniya Moore and shaped by LIVE’s own Gaby Cartwright and producer, Tom Hopewell.  The event ran like clockwork against a spectacular backdrop thanks to the efforts and support of LS Events, Lighthouse Events and Universal Pixels – do reach out to them for your next gig!

For a flavour of the night, check out over 400 images here.  And if you would like to be part of this year’s Awards, please drop Gaby a note. TEAA President with representatives from 14 agencies covering all areas of live music and entertainment.  This led to a lively and expert discussion with topics covered ranging from political engagement and diversity on lineups to the economics of touring and ticketing regulation.