Damon Albarn Says Artists Should Be Allowed to Perform During the Pandemic If They're Willing

"We are trying to preserve everyone's health at the moment so passionately, we mustn't ignore live music in that prescription"
Damon Albarn Says Artists Should Be Allowed to Perform During the Pandemic If They're Willing
Damon Albarn has shared his concerns about the health of the live music industry amidst the ongoing pandemic and as England enters another lockdown — this time for an entire month.

Speaking with Sky News, the Gorillaz frontman described the crisis as "a medical emergency but an existential one as well."

Despite thousands of daily new cases in the U.K. and around the world, Albarn said that live music must be allowed to continue if artists are willing to perform.

"We are trying to preserve everyone's health at the moment so passionately, we mustn't ignore live music in that prescription," he said. "If people are willing to perform, they should be allowed to, no one should be forced to do anything, but if people are willing then somehow we can make it work so everyone can feel comfortable and participate."

Albarn also slammed the government for "diminishing of the value of the arts," by underfunding recovery programs and launching a controversial ad campaign aimed at artists to encourage them to switch industries.

"It was such a bad signal to send out to people who were struggling to hold onto their dreams anyway, to literally explode them in their faces was bordering on callous I felt really," he said about a government-backed CyberFirst ad campaign.

He also addressed the benefit of being a part of a virtual band during the pandemic. "We are lucky we've always had our virtual world. A new kind of creativity is emerging out of all of this," he shared.

Gorillaz's output has remained steady during the pandemic, having released singles through their weekly music series Song Machine since early 2020. The project saw them team up with Elton John, Robert Smith, ScHoolboy Q, Tony Allen, Skepta and many more. 

Albarn also recently teased a new Gorillaz film.