THE lead-singer of a Baschurch-based band has told of the behind-the-scenes impact that the coronavirus shutdown has had on the UK music industry.

Aphra Smith, 22, is the lead singer of four-piece indie-pop band The Sunset Beach Hut, alongside Matty George, Ben Thomas and Luke McCrohon.

The band was formed in 2017 and their 2018 single Bury was streamed more than 20,000 on music platform Spotify.

And to add to this success, the two years since their formation were filled with sell-out gigs at venues such as The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham, as well as supporting some of the UK’s best upcoming bands including SPINN, Stereo Honey and Calva Louise, taking their first trip down to London supporting Shields, and securing their a place at international music festival FOCUS Wales 2019.

After a brief hiatus in 2019 the band have returned this spring with their new single twenty//25\\five.

But the band's comeback has been halted by government restrictions on travelling in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Aphra says is "heartbreaking".

"Although we didn’t have any gigs booked for the summer, we were trying to book gigs to promote our most recent single twenty//25\\five," said Aphra.

"Coming back from a hiatus to this was hard because all we wanted to do after this break was perform.

"It’s probably our favourite thing to do as a band and having to postpone after no consistent gigs since May 2019 was heartbreaking.

"We can only hope that this allows the guys and myself to get some writing in; however it is near impossible for us all to collaborate on music without being able to meet up."

Like thousands of other bands around the UK, The Sunset Beach Hut make a large portion of their income through selling merchandise as well as their performances, and Aphra says the lockdown has been devastating for the industry.

"The pandemic has had a huge impact on the music industry itself," she added.

"Playing live shows and selling 'merch' is the only way small bands can make money these days so trying to keep a steady income is near impossible.

"We see so many bands with such potential fall apart already because of financial trouble without the current crisis.

"For new acts it’s going to be hard for them to maintain any sort of momentum.

"It’s a great thing that the music industry is saturated with so much talent however it does mean that attentions are short. Without the ability for artists to create content unfortunately people move on."

But it is not just the bands that have been affected by the shutdown, the venues where the gigs would be played have suddenly found themselves with a large hole in their income.

"The venues and promoters have sorely impacted," Aphra added. "All of the bookings over the next two months have been cancelled and it’s likely that there will be more to follow for June.

"This is going to mean a huge drying up of revenue.

"With all this lost time we hope that venues and promoters won’t go under as this would have a huge impact on the opportunities available for growing artists."

But Aphra is remaining positive for the time being, despite the trouble the industry is inevitably facing.

"I hope we can all come out of this with a greater appreciation of what we have," she added.

"The Birmingham music scene is a great community and I for one will cherish that more once this is all over.

"While for some it will be a struggle, I hope the positives will be that artists will get time to breathe, be creative and plan for the future.

"To help out growing artists at this time, make sure to buy their music and merchandise on Bandcamp, if that isn’t feasible for you right now give their music a share – it is all so greatly appreciated."