Istanbul Municipality to provide open-air concerts to support musicians amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Istanbul Municipality has launched a project to enable musicians to hold open-air concerts in more than 100 spots of the city. The project will both “liven up the city with musical notes” and also help musicians financially amid the COVID-19 shutdown, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu said.

Duvar English

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu has announced that the municipality launched a project to support musicians who are struggling financially due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

İmamoğlu said that the project titled “Istanbul is a stage” (“Istanbul Bir Sahne” in Turkish) will turn the city into a “massive open-air stage,” with concerts being held in more than 100 spots in all of the 39 districts.

“We desire that musicians execute their artistry and also create a hopeful and positive atmosphere in Istanbul. Although stages have been silent for some time due to the virus, it is time to put an end to this silence and liven up the city with musical notes,” İmamoğlu said in a video which he shared on his Twitter account.

“The municipality will take all the health precautions prior to and during the events. Istanbulites will enjoy free concerts in a safe way despite the pandemic,” he said.

The mayor also shared the website through which musicians can apply should they wish to participate in the project.

Musicians have been for months now complaining about the government's lack of support for them as they can no longer go on stage amid the COVID-19 measures.

In September, Turkish musicians launched a campaign on social media with the hashtag of #MüziğeSesVer (which translates as “Give voice to music”) to draw attention to their economic difficulties and rising number of suicides. However, the government has not still taken any steps to ensure that musicians can continue to make a living.

Representatives of the entertainment industry have many times called on the government to supply them with aid packages in order to prevent a wave of social unrest and further suicides.

Turkish Musicians and Performers Union (Müzik-Sen) said in March that 102 musicians in the country have committed suicide since the government introduced preventive measures against the pandemic last year.