How hundreds of freelance musicians asked for help with a socially distanced protest and performance at Westminster

Parliament Square echoed to the sound of classical music today as 400 musicians staged a mini concert to highlight the impact of coronavirus.

The pop-up performance of Gustav Holst's Mars was limited to 90 seconds by the police to avoid attracting a crowd.

Lockdown, social distancing, and restrictions on live performances have devastated the music industry, leaving concert venues and West End theatres closed.

Self-employed musicians are calling for greater financial support from the government.

'Our members want to work. They want to be able to work for all sorts of reasons but mainly of course to make a living. If they're unable to do that because of the almost ban on live music the government has put in place, then we need financial assistance.' said Keith Ames of the Musicians' Union.

The fallout from Covid 19 almost certainly means a premature end to the career of renowned classical violinist Tasmin Little.

"I've had approximately 40 concerns cancelled so, all my lovely retirement concerts and the celebrations that I was going to have finishing up my career have all gone. It's completely devastating," she said.

The government said it was working 'flat out' to help the arts.

Covid has had a devastating impact on our brilliant performing arts and we understand this is a really anxious time for the creative industries. That's why we're investing £1.57bn to safe the arts, building on an additional £200m from Arts Council England and the tens of millions of pounds from the Government's support schemes.

Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport

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