The 74-year-old Northern Irish singer launched a campaign to “save live music” on his website, saying socially distanced gigs were not economically viable. “I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up,” he said.
Morrison is due to play socially distanced gigs in England next month, but he said this did not signify agreement with restrictions to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 800,000 lives worldwide.
“This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.”
The Brown Eyed Girl songwriter said Andrew Lloyd Webber appeared to be the only other person in the music business trying to get it back up and running.
Morrison, who was knighted in 2016, has won Grammys and a worldwide fanbase over a career that began in the 50s and mixed blues, rock, jazz, soul and other influences in landmark albums such as Moondance and Astral Weeks.
Morrison expressed alarm at the pandemic’s impact on the music industry last month when he joined almost 150 artists in appealing to Northern Ireland’s department for communities for urgent financial support. Industry figures elsewhere in the UK have also pleaded for measures to cushion mass redundancies in the absence of major gigs and festivals, which have been on hold since March.