Live music to play again on July 19th12.07.2021.
LIVE is delighted that, after over a year of closure, live music can begin once again in England – at full capacity – on 19 July.
After having lost over 85% of its revenue in 2020, this is a landmark moment for the industry. Events will be able to begin again in earnest, finally bringing much sought-after joy, entertainment and excitement to fans up and down the country.
Today’s announcement is a crucial step forward and we have worked day and night over the past year to ensure that live events can return safety. However, barriers still remain which will severely impede the recovery of this £4.6 billion industry. These must be urgently resolved if we are to fully reopen:
- Insurance – 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 entertainment 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. The Government has said on numerous occasions that it would move to address the market failure in Covid cancellation insurance once the country moved to Step 4. That point is now about to arrive and the problem remains unsolved.
- Self-isolation – We are already seeing productions collapsing due to by the need to isolate whole casts or crew when one person in a bubble contracts Covid. To ensure the industry can reopen sustainably there is also a need for a cultural exemption to the isolation requirements through frequent testing. The Government has announced its plan to exempt those that are fully vaccinated from mandatory isolation from 16 August. That is far too late for productions that are trying to get up now and may well be playing to full houses by July 19. Companies will work to provide a covid secure environment for performers and crew however 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.
- Quarantine exemption – international stars from music and the arts are keen to play at our world-leading festivals, theatres and clubs. Currently that is only possible following a period of quarantine which many are unable to do due to other commitments. The arts need the same exemption that professional elite sport has obtained, which enables teams to come from around Europe to the UK play in the European Championship without quarantining.
Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE said:
“Today is a fantastic day for live music – our members cannot wait to get back out there and put on the events safely that our fans have been missing this past year.
“While we have been waiting for this moment for the past year, commercial insurance is still not available – meaning organisers are faced with the prospect of huge financial losses should any restrictions need to change. If Government really wants us to get back our feet, they need to make live events financially viable, provide the insurance scheme they have promised, and give the industry the confidence to invest for the long term.”
Mark Davyd, CEO for Music Venues Trust said:
“Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes the decision to permit Grassroots Music Venues in England to open at full capacity from 19 July. For the last 12 months, we have been working tirelessly alongside venue operators to identify ways in which they can Reopen Every Venue Safely. That work remains at the forefront of everyone’s minds, but today we want to reach out to live music fans and send them a simple message: It’s finally time to Revive Live. Please help your local venue in England to provide safe events by thinking about your personal responsibility, the things you can do to ensure that as well as keeping yourself safe you are also doing everything you can to support the safety of others. We have all been desperately seeking the opportunity to Revive Live Music, and to show that we can do that safely. Let’s take this opportunity and demonstrate that we are a community that cares about each other.”
Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals said:
“We welcome the Health Secretary’s confirmation of progressing to Step 4 of the lockdown roadmap. Government has repeatedly stated that once we are at this stage, it will examine if insurance is still an issue for events and intervene if necessary. We are now one week away from this date and the sector needs a long overdue resolution to this problem. AIF is also working with the relevant Government departments on the publication of guidance to ensure that festivals can reopen safely this summer, and organisers and local authorities alike can have confidence in their decision making and measures introduced – including Covid certification were considered appropriate. Ensuring the safety of audiences and risk mitigation has always been central to what festival organisers do each year and it will continue to be more so than ever as we begin to emerge from the pandemic.”
Steve Heap, General Secretary of The Association of Festival Organisers said:
“The Association of Festival Organisers is delighted to hear the Secretary of State tell the house that the government have no plans to start charging for lateral Flow Tests. Whilst we are of course also very pleased the government will take us to step 4 on July 19th. However, in order to save the last few events of the 2021 season we must have the necessary guidance immediately as festivals are trying to meet the required regulations at very short notice.”
David Keighley, Chair of the Production Services Association said:
“It is great news to hear that finally the government has confirmed the easing of restrictions on the 19th of July. The success of the vaccination roll out has been the key factor in making the move to step 4 possible. Ironically, we see very large increases in COVID cases at this time but if the vaccines mean the number of serious cases and hospitalisations remain relatively low, then it is right to open up our economy. Let’s all hope this remains the case in the coming months. There is still a level of uncertainty, and we all need to be cautious throughout the summer and particularly moving into autumn.”