Gilles Peterson: Arts funding must support fringe as well as traditional venues

DJ Gilles Peterson has said he hopes government support for the arts is not all diverted to traditional institutions and theatre, warning “sometimes the fringe gets lost and forgotten about”.

The BBC 6 Music broadcaster said there will be a “whole new energy” to come from the coronavirus crisis and he hopes it receives enough support.

The Government has announced a £1.57 billion funding package for the arts and organisations in England have been urged to apply for a share of £500 million from the support package for the cultural sector.

Speaking to Edith Bowman on her new podcast Play Next, Peterson said: “I think the future of festivals is positive.

RADIOACTIVE Premiere – London
RADIOACTIVE Premiere – London

“Like anything, it’s a traumatic time for a lot of business whether it’s restaurants, nightclubs or festivals.

“Of course there’s going to be some very sad losses but I think we’re going to pick up the pieces because we always do, and I just hope that what support has been prepared, I hope that it doesn’t all end up going to the Royal Opera House, or some of those more traditional institutions and theatres.

“Of course they all need the support, but sometimes the fringe gets lost and forgotten about, and I think it must be reminded to the people that are going to be handing out this support, that it’s those fringes that have meant that this country has been really at the forefront of change within music.

“There will be a whole new energy that’s going to come out of this and I think it’s going to be incredible. I can’t wait be on a field, listening to someone playing some 1993 drum and bass classic.”

He added: “Festivals are incredible and I just love being able to spend a bit more time than just going in and out of a site as a DJ because you’re always going to discover something.

“As a way to make me more relaxed when I perform, like when I used to go to Glastonbury regularly, I’d always come a couple of days before because it was essential that I got into the whole spirit of it before I went up on stage.

“There’s nothing worse than really coming in from the outside and just knocking it out. You get the energy, but it’s really great when you can be part of that community. That’s why festivals are so brilliant.”

On Play Next, Bowman will talk to pioneers in music about issues facing the industry, such as the future of festivals, women in music and music tech.

It will be available on all major streaming platforms, including Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music.