Musicians protest lack of support from UK Government

More than 400 musicians gathered outside the UK parliament on Tuesday 6 October to protest the Government’s lack of support for the music industry. Among the protesters were violinists Nicola Benedetti and Tamsin Little, and conductor David Hill.

“Many musicians are facing retraining, many are talking about leaving the country,” said Benedetti in an interview with the BBC. “That’s not just fabrication, that’s a real-life situation that we don’t want to see happen.”

According to the Musicians’ Union, many musicians are not eligible for government grants under the self-employed income support scheme because they also have part-time jobs with specific ensembles.

Further, in the latest round, self employed people can only claim 20% of their usual earnings from the Government’s support scheme. Hill lead musicians in a rendition of Holst’s Mars, but symbolically only played 90 seconds – or 20% – of the piece.

“Moving to have been part of [the] peaceful protest in Parliament Square for the forgotten freelance musicians,” said Hill in a post on his Twitter page. “Great to have so much support from so many wonderful musicians.”

A similar event took place on Monday 6 October, as actors gathered for a two-minute silence outside the Gielgud Theatre in the West End.