Friday, July 31, 2020

UK Government Delays Live Music Return | Pollstar News

Laura Marling performs her new album Lorne Thomson/RedfernsLaura Marling performs her new album "Song For Our Daughter" in an empty Union Chapel, June 6, in London, England. Indoor live music performances won't take place in front of an audience until at least Aug. 15.

In today's press conference, July 31, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced that the reopening of what he dubbed "higher-risk settings" would be postponed for at least two weeks.

Music venues were among the businesses to reopen Saturday, Aug. 1, however, the target date has now been pushed to Aug. 15.

According to Johnson, "the number of patients admitted to hospitals is still falling," as was the number of deaths. However, he said, the developments around the world placed his government in a position of having to react.

"The prevalence of the virus in the community in England is likely to be rising for the first time since May," Johnson said, quoting the country's office for national statistics.

Thus, indoor performances will not resume on Aug. 1. Pilots with crowds in sports venues and conference centers won't take place either.

The UK's live entertainment sector has consistently emphasised that it wouldn't be possible to stage events in an economically viable manner under the current restrictions.

So, even if venues open again, the hygienic measures, with distancing leading the way, make it impossible to run a profitable venue business. And those measures will still be in place, even in two weeks time.

The country's Music Venue Trust (MVT) summed it up:

"Music Venue Trust and the network of grassroots music venues across the UK are saddened but not surprised to hear that live music events planned from Saturday 1st August in response to government advice must now be cancelled.   

"Since May 2020, Music Venue Trust has repeatedly informed the government that live music events in grassroots music venues would be extraordinarily difficult to stage, not economically viable, and at risk of being cancelled at short notice during the current pandemic. 

"A number of venues across the country have attempted to stage such events based on advice from the government, incurring substantial costs to make their venues safe. That expenditure now adds to the growing mountain of debts accrued by those venues working within the government guidelines.

"Music Venue Trust has consistently asserted that no grassroots music venue will be able to stage live music events before October 1st at the earliest, yet The Prime Minister has stated that the new reopening date might be as earlier as 15th August.  

"Music Venue Trust would like to restate and emphasise the position of the sector, which is that a clear and decisive position on the part of government to provide support for grassroots music venues in the form of efficiently distributed crisis funding until such time as they can re-open safely and viably would provide the much needed clarity that venues, artists, audiences and the wider public need. 


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