Dowden does not want to let anyone down – cue laughter
There was an article in the Guardian on the 18th June 2020, “Act to save industry, leading lights of stage urge government” https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2020/jun/17/cultural-catastrophe-uk-theatre-faces-ruin-amid-coronavirus-crisis . Dowden was quoted as saying “he does not want to let anyone down”. Well his insouciance to date has let a whole raft of jazz musicians and volunteer jazz promoters down and almost out for the count. I see no concrete thinking of where we want to be?
What is required is leadership and bold actions. Firstly there needs to be a Marshall Aid Plan for the arts, secondly the development of a national arts plan that brings all the components of the arts together from pubs to cinemas; from opera houses to folk and jazz clubs, from theatres to art galleries. Thirdly, a national arts festival to reboot the arts. Finally there needs to be a reformation in the funding of the arts with an organisation that can deliver a rolling, realistic and coherent national plan for the arts that ensures equitable funding where under-represented musics and art forms finally get a place in the sun.
For the avoidance of doubt in 2018/19, Opera received £57.1 million, classical music £19 million and jazz £1.6 million. Classical music concerts are attended by 3.4 million people, 2.1 million people attend jazz concerts and 1.7 million people attend opera.