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Live music to return to Spain in May

Venues in Spain may be able to reopen in May under the government’s exit plan, yet capacity reductions and other restrictions could prove a headache for organisers

By IQ on 29 Apr 2020

Live music to return to Spain in May

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez announced the country's exit plan on 28 April

image © European Union 2019 – Source: EP

Concerts could resume in Spain as early as May following the government’s recently announced exit plan, but strict capacity limitations and a lack of clarification around required distance between attendees could complicate the live business’ reopening.

The plan laid out by Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez yesterday (28 April) sees the country reopening in four stages, starting from the preparatory phase zero, which will last until 11 May.

Each phase will have a duration of two weeks as a minimum. The situation in each province of the country will be re-evaluated before the implementation the next stage of the plan, with different regions of the country possibly proceeding at different rates.

In phase one – beginning on 11 May – “cultural events” will be allowed to resume, with a maximum capacity of 30 people for indoor venues that usually have a capacity of 90 or more, and of 200 for open-air events. All outdoor events must be seated, with social distancing rules applied.

In phase two, which could begin as early as 25 May, indoor concerts will reopen at a third of their usual capacity, with a maximum capacity of 50 people. Seated, open-air events will be permitted for up to 400 people, with all punters maintaining the “necessary distance”.

Phase two will also see the reopening of cinemas and theatres at a third of capacity.

The final, “advanced” stage of the plan, set to start from 8 June, sees the reopening of night clubs and bars at a third of usual capacity. Indoor events will have a capacity limit of 80, still operating at 33% of normal size, and outdoor events of up to 800 people will be allowed.

“The way it has been presented almost hurts us more than helps because very few, if any, events will be able to comply”

The exit strategy may not come as welcome news to all in the concert business, however, with members of Spain’s live industry deeming plans to reopen at a third of maximum capacity “unviable” for business.

“It is still very unclear,” Chris Ortiz, director of international booking at Córdoba-based Riff Productions, tells IQ. “Honestly, the way it has been presented almost hurts us more than helps because very few, if any, events will be able to comply.”

Ortiz refers to the mention of maintaining a “safe distance” between those attending an event which, in one instance, is put at nine square metres per person. “We are trying to get a clearer idea of what kind of safety measures we would need to provide for this capacity.”

Ortiz also states that no information has been given as to when larger events such as festivals can be held again, preventing cancellation due to force majeure.

Earlier this week, the Spanish Association of Music Festivals (Asociación de Festivales de Música – FMA) warned that, without government support, festivals in Spain were set to be at a “clear disadvantage” to their European neighbours.

“This is not good news because most of the promoters will not be able to do their events,” a spokesperson from Spanish promoters’ association APM tells IQ. “In reality, these capacity reductions cannot be applied, because the events were planned with all expenses and income already calculated before the state of alarm was implemented.

“Massive events (both festivals and concerts) are not even contemplated by the government. They just refer to concerts of 800 spectators maximum. The drop of more than 95% in ticket sales in the last two months makes these measures even more unviable.”

IQ will update this article with more industry reactions as we receive them.

Photo: (CC-BY-4.0) © European Union 2019 – Source: EP (cropped)


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