What Is The Government's Roadmap To Restart Live Music?
It's been months since absorbing the damp must of a DIY grassroots music venue, or embracing the collective jubilation that screaming the lyrics of your favourite festival headliner brings has felt like a genuine possibility this summer. Now that the Government, under immense public pressure to restart the economy, have (finally) got around to publishing their conditional exit strategy, it doesn't look likely that live music experiences will back for some time.
Today's 60-page document Our Plan To Rebuild lays out the tiered phases in which the public can gradually return to their livelihoods, along with the economy. But realistically, given the most gigs takes place in enclosed spaces, and music festivals can see congregations of thousands of people, we might not be able to see our idols until a vaccine has been sanctioned and distributed on a domestic scale at least.
Time will only tell if the rate of infections and tragic deaths subsides during this first step where restrictions have eased-off, potentially allowing the retail, hospitality, and entertainment industries to partially reopen in the coming months if we reach step three of the exit strategy. Still, that's if (and I should reiterate if) things go to plan.
Other European countries are beginning to ease out of lockdown, but worryingly South Korea, one of the world's leading lights in dealing with this pandemic have recently seen a spike in infections since cautiously rebooting their nightlife. It's an incredibly sad scenario for all those involved in the music and entertainment industries, considering the alarming reports that up to 80% of grassroots music venues in the UK could fold very soon.
Whilst music venues are not explicitly mentioned, the document states: "Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to reopen safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part." meaning that even by July 4th when step three of the exit strategy comes into action, opening indoor venues still may not be on the agenda.
It goes without saying that public health comes first, but still, some clarity on when the livelihoods of artists, promoters, booking agents, and venue staff can resume is what's needed. Let's see how it unfolds, and remain positive.
Read more on Live Music in the time of Covid-19 here.