#LetUsDance - dance music industry rallies to issue urgent plea to government

Artists including Pete Tong, Fatboy Slim, Charlotte De Witte and Massive Attack are backing the campaign

David Blake

Last updated: 23rd Jul 2020

DJs and artists including Pete Tong, Fatboy Slim, Charlotte De Witte, Massive Attack, Maya Jane Coles and Thom Yorke are backing a new campaign by the UK dance music industry, calling on the Government for protection during the ongoing Coronavirus crisis and recognition of its social, economic and cultural value.

Tens of thousands of fans, workers, venues, artists, promoters, festivals, publishers and all other associated businesses and organisations involved in the dance music industry will come together across social media on Thursday 23rd July to back the #LetUsDance initiative - which has been organised by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).

Earlier this month, the Government announced a £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage industries to help weather the impact of Coronavirus.

However, it is still unclear whether the electronic and dance music sector, which has been left devastated by cancellations, closures and redundancies, will be given fair access to the fund and considered equal to more traditional art forms like theatre, art, and the wider music sector.

NTIA CEO Michael Kill says: “The NTIA warmly welcomes the announcement last week by the Government that £1.57 billion will provide a lifeline to vital cultural and heritage organisations.

“But we are keen to gain assurances from DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) and Government that dance music venues and nightclubs will be eligible to apply for the funding and that it will not be reserved purely for venues like the Royal Albert Hall and the West End.

“The UK is home to a rich and diverse range of institutions, all of whom should be fairly entitled to this investment.”

Skiddle has partnered with the NTIA to fully back the #LetUsDance campaign, alongside the likes of Resident Advisor, the Association For Electronic Music (AFEM), UK Music, DJ Magazine, Broadwick Live, the Association of Independent Promoters (AIP) and dozens of other businesses and organisations.

Skiddle co-founder, Ben Sebborn says: “We’ve been working closely with dance music venues, festivals and promoters for almost 20 years, and it’s safe to say the sector has never faced a crisis like this.

“By its nature electronic music has always been viewed as more underground and separate, but there’s no denying its economic value, which runs into the billions, not to mention the vital social and cultural importance of dancing, community and togetherness. 

“Electronic music is an art form - equal to ballet, opera, theatre - and for that reason it deserves full support and recognition from this government."

According to the NTIA, the UK night time economy employs over one million people, generates £66 billion in revenue per annum (6% of the UK's total) and 300 million visits a year. 

However, the “government narrative to-date on the allocation of support has not included nightclubs, dance music events and festivals to receive funding from this [£1.57 billion] package for the arts,” says the NTIA.

Last week, in an address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that indoor performances with socially-distanced audiences could return in August, but added that nightclubs would remain closed.

The #LetUsDance campaign is urging everyone involved in the dance music industry to post photos, videos and memories from their last club night, festival or event to social media using the hashtag #LetUsDance on Thursday in a show of support and solidarity.

People are also being urged to write a letter to their local MP pushing the government to take action to save this vital sector. You can do so automatically here.

You can find out more about the #LetUsDance campaign via the NTIA website and get involved by searching for #LetUsDance on social media.

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