LIVE MUSIC CAN FINALLY REOPEN OUR DOORS AFTER A DEVASTATING YEAR05.07.2021.
After over a year of almost total closure, the Prime Minister has finally announced that the UK’s iconic live music industry should be able to return at full capacity on 19 July. The summer is traditionally one of the busiest periods and it will mean that after a year of cancellations it can finally start to provide much-needed excitement for over 30 million live music fans again.
This is a significant moment for the industry, which has been devastated during the pandemic. The constant uncertainty and delays meant that the £4.6 billion industry lost over 85% of revenue in 2020. Whilst today’s announcement is a crucial step towards full reopening there are still a number of important issues that need to be urgently resolved in order to make full reopening a reality.
- The commercial insurance market has failed with regards to Covid cancellation cover, and it is clear that restrictions could be brought back quickly if the public health data was to worsen. This presents the live music industry with a great deal of uncertainty and after over a year of lost income it would be impossible for the industry to absorb that scale of loss. Meaning that whilst legally the industry could start to organise future events the reality could be very different. To prevent irreversible damage the Government must announce an insurance scheme immediately to provide the security and stability needed for serious investment to be made.
- To ensure the industry can reopen sustainably there is also a need for an exemption to the isolation requirements through track and trace before a formal announcement is made later this summer. Whilst companies will work to provide a covid secure environment for performers and crew, the inevitable increase in rates would lead to many having to self-isolate despite having been vaccinated and testing negative. Without this exception shows will have to be cancelled unnecessarily at the last minute, costing millions of pounds and potentially thousands of jobs.
Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE said:
“The live music industry is very pleased with the Prime Minister’s statement, and it seems we will finally see a return to full capacity performances on 19 July. We have watched the rest of the economy reopen while our doors have been forced to remain closed since the start of the pandemic, but today’s announcements will generate considerable excitement amongst music fans across the country.
“To save the rest of the Summer and Autumn schedule we now desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to provide the security required to invest in events. Government ministers have repeatedly said that a scheme would be announced once the legal barriers to full performances were removed. Well, we are now almost at that point and there must be no further delay if we are to reap the benefits of the superb vaccine roll-out.”
Mark Davyd, CEO of MVT said:
“This is obviously extremely welcome news for millions of live music fans, for artists, crew, venues and local communities who have been deprived of music for so long. Since March 2020, Music Venue Trust’s aim has been to Reopen Every Venue Safely. We have been working alongside the grassroots music venue sector throughout to identify methods by which we can do that, regardless of any current government guidelines and resulting limitations and restrictions. The keyword for us and the sector throughout these long difficult months has been ‘safely.
“This announcement is hugely important and provides the opportunity to revive live music. It does not, however, change the central mission or the importance of the word ‘safely’. We are re-energising our efforts to work with our fantastic network of grassroots music venues to ensure that what each of them delivers to the public meets the highest standards of covid security and safety within the new guidelines.”
Phil Bowdery, Chairman of Concert Promoters Association said:
“I am delighted that the Government has made the right choice today, letting the much-loved live music sector get back to doing what it does best.
“While we absolutely cannot wait to safely welcome back our fans, we are missing one piece of the puzzle – insurance. We need a government-backed scheme to provide the security needed to start investing in events over the coming months, shoring up our industry and stimulating the wider economy as we build back following the pandemic.”
Paul Reed, CEO for the Association for Independent Festivals said:
“We welcome the Prime Minister’s statement and those large events including festivals are expected to be able to take place from July 19. It is positive for organisers, fans and artists alike that there will be some activity this year, though clearly, it is too late for the estimated 56% of UK festivals that have already been forced to cancel and are still awaiting details of emergency funding and the next round of the Culture Recovery Fund.
“We now urge Government to finally act on insurance and announce a government-backed scheme immediately. Insurance remains the key obstacle to planning with confidence and there is no rationale for not implementing such a scheme if the Government’s roadmap is truly irreversible.
“We also need to ensure there is clear guidance for organisers and local authorities no later than July 12, so that events don’t unravel at a local level. We ask that Government also explore solutions for staff that will be affected by test and trace and isolation policies working at events this summer.”
David Keighley, Chair of the Production Services Association said:
“It’s really good to hear from our Prime Minister that we can hopefully and finally get back to normal after the 19th of July. The concert touring, festivals and events sector of our economy has been the hardest hit by Covid. We were the first to stop and we are only now being allowed to reopen. We must all be truly thankful for the vaccines as this is the reason we can almost get back to normal.”
Steve Heap, General Secretary of The Association of Festival Organisers said:
More than a COVID year on and with the festival scene once again decimated it is hard to find a positive word to say. However, the Government seem very confident that 19th July will be the day that the festival world that remains can get back to a near normal. We have had some successful covid safe reduced size events under Step 3 and we now hope with Step 4 and today’s announcements we can fill the campsites and arenas with crowds of festival-goers who have waited so very long.
“Safety will still be the guiding light; the majority of the responsibility seems to now be on businesses and the public, but the resilience of the organisers and their amazing creativity will help put confidence back into our customers as we bounce back for late summer and plan confidently for 2022.”
Jonathan Brown, CEO of the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers said:
“This is very welcome news both for the live entertainment industry and for ticket buyers excited to return to events. However, we urge the Government to support event organisers with an insurance scheme that will help build back our industry with confidence.”
Greg Marshall, General Manager – AFEM said:
“The intention to allow nightclubs, festivals and live music events in the UK to go ahead without further restrictions from the 19th July is warmly welcomed. We can begin to rebuild the music events sector while advocating for responsible fan behaviour and safety protocols as determined by the industry itself.”