Stars fight for the future of live music

Glast-home-bury: Fans celebrated the 50th anniversary of the festival from their back gardens. © Alamy

Do we need live music? Concerts and festivals were cancelled during the lockdown and fans fear gigs could stop forever. Now, 1,500 artists have signed a letter calling to save the industry.

What’s happening

Members of the family eat hotdogs, excitedly watching Beyoncé as she walks on to the Pyramid Stage. The music starts, accompanied by cheering and screaming as the star act begins singing Crazy in Love. But something’s different: the festival has been cancelled, and the family is sitting in front of a recording at home.

Find out more

Glastonbury was one of thousands of events stopped due to social distancing rules. The festival was due to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year, including performances from Taylor Swift and Paul McCartney.

Now, the Beatles singer has joined 1,500 others asking the government to save live music. Many of the artists were due to perform over the summer before their shows were cancelled.

The letter, also signed by Ed Sheeran, said the future looked “bleak”. It asked the government to give the industry financial support. Cancellations meant that venues lost out on income from audiences. Employees at music venues could lose their jobs.

Streaming services mean that we can listen to our favourite artists whenever we want. Do we need live concerts as well?

Some say…

No. Live concerts and world tours are outdated: they are expensive and bad for the environment. We don’t need performers to travel the globe when we can stream their music at home. Live concerts are flawed, and it is not always possible to hear or see clearly. By watching or listening to recordings, we will always experience the best performances.

Others think…

Yes! Nothing compares to the experience of live music, which can be exciting and really fun. Communication is vital; concerts are a chance for fans and performers to connect. Any imperfections make them unique experiences. Many famous artists became popular performing in smaller concerts and gaining fans – they need live music just as much as we do.

You Decide

  1. Should the government give money to save music venues and theatres?


  1. Find some of your favourite music and set it up as a concert at home. Invite members of your household to come along.

Some People Say...

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

Confucius (551-479BC) Chinese philosopher

What do you think?

Word Watch

Pyramid Stage
The main stage at Glastonbury, a music festival that takes place in Somerset every summer.
Paul McCartney
An English singer and songwriter, best known as a member of The Beatles.
Financial support
Giving money to somebody or something to help it. The government is supporting different industries affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Money received on a regular basis from work. Music venues receive their income by selling tickets for shows.
Having weaknesses or problems.
A fault or flaw, making something less than perfect. Recordings are usually faultless, while live concerts can involve mistakes or slight problems, or special, one-off versions of songs.


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