A £2.5 million fund set up to help struggling musicians during the coronavirus crisis is on the brink of running out of cash after just five days.
More than 3,500 artists have applied for financial assistance since the Help Musicians UK fund opened last Friday (June 5).
But the fund is now on the verge of reaching capacity, meaning that some applicants may fail to secure funding.
Speaking to the BBC, chief executive James Ainscough warned: “It’s a bigger, longer crisis than any of us could have thought possible.”
The current Help Musicians fund is targeted at providing funding for self-employed workers, following an initial phase in March that offered grants of £500 to any musician who faced immediate financial difficulties.
A study conducted by the organisation also found that 99% of musicians had worried about their financial income during lockdown, while a further 46% said the impact on their wellbeing had been “strong or severe”.
Help Musicians’ Ainscough explained: “Whilst lockdown restrictions are slowly starting to lift, musicians will continue to be among some of the hardest hit by Covid-19 in the months to come. Live music will surely be one of the last sectors to start operating as normal and so many musicians just don’t know how they will survive.
“And as the country sees more and more redundancies, there are fewer opportunities for musicians to take temporary jobs to make ends meet. We therefore decided that urgent action was needed to offer extra financial help – too many musicians are simply falling through the gaps of the support available.
“We’re pleased to have been able to support 16,700 people already in the first round of funding, and offering much needed help to many more during this second phase. This is why continued support is more vital than ever. As such, we asking individuals, corporate organisations and other bodies to donate, no matter how large or small, so that we can continue to help as many musicians as possible and ease the pressure until they can get back to work.”
Help Musicians is now seeking donations to top up the emergency fund – which was initially funded from its own reserves, alongside £500,000 from music rights organisation PPL and £50,000 from Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol.
It comes after a separate campaign secured the futures of 140 UK music venues at risk of permanent closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.
The Save Our Venues Campaign was set up by the Music Venue Trust, with a successful crowdfunding bid to prevent 556 independent UK venues from closure and stop “damage that would undermine the UK music industry for 20-30 years”.