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Scottish industry slams gov’s reopening roadmap

Indoor socially distanced performances are set to return but the Scottish live industry says the roadmap is "as clear as mud"

By IQ on 21 Apr 2021

King Tut's Wah Wah Hut will be hosting Concerts for Climate

The Graveltones performing at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

The Scottish live industry has dubbed the government’s roadmap out of lockdown ‘meaningless’ and ‘vague’ for the return of live entertainment.

According to the NME, the government has confirmed that from 17 May, socially distanced indoor performances will be allowed to take place with up to 100 attendees while outdoor events and festivals can welcome up to 500 people.

The next phase of reopening will commence in early June when those numbers will hopefully increase to 200 people for indoor venues and 1,000 for outdoor events.

“It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland”

By the end of June, it is hoped that event organisers will be able to host events for up to 400 indoors and 2000 outdoors – although higher capacities will be open to negotiation.

Sturgeon has not yet disclosed a provisional date for the ending of social distancing restrictions – while British prime minister Boris Johnson is poised to lift all restrictions by 21 June.

Commenting on the roadmap, Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts – Scotland’s biggest concert promoter and owner of King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (cap. 300) in Glasgow – told IQ: “It’s currently meaningless for the viability of live entertainment in Scotland. A maximum of 100 people indoors and all physically distanced is under 20 people in King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut – to put it into context.

“The Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than in England and Wales”

“We need Scottish government to give us a proper roadmap that goes beyond ‘level 0 by end of June’ as that still means physical distancing will be in place. However, based on common sense and logic arising from the progress being made in Scotland with both the suppression of the virus and the roll-out of the vaccine programme, I am very optimistic for shows without restrictions by the late summer – at the very latest in good time for our TRNSMT festival at full capacity.

“Meanwhile though, the Scottish music industry remains closed and in a more precarious position than its counterparts in England and Wales due to a lack of further committed funding from Scottish government.”

Donald MacLeod – MD of Holdfast Entertainment Group, promoter at CPL, and owner of Glasgow-based clubs The Garage and the Cathouse Rock Club – told IQ: “The latest ‘draft’ guidance from the Scottish government on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud, and a cut and paste socially distanced shambles.

“The latest ‘draft’ guidance on social distancing for the hospitality sector is as clear as mud”

“It is obvious that whoever drafted them has not one scintilla of business sense or an ounce of care for the sector, whose operators are desperate and struggling to make ends meet in these exacting times. For venue owners, promoters, managers, bands and of course Scotland’s battalions of live music fans, with the Scottish government still not committing or even discussing with the sector indictive re-opening dates, pilot test events, and contemptuously refusing to include them in the strategic opening Tier Levels, I fear the worst. This is not a roadmap to recovery but an industry car crash.

“Now that we have the vaccine, the peddling of fear and caution from the government and their army of health advisors must stop and replaced with a concerted and confident drive back to normality, otherwise Scotland’s hospitality and live music industries will become a cultural wasteland.”

The uncertainty surrounding the potential Covid restrictions that may be in place in summer has already caused a number of major Scottish festivals to cancel, including The Belladrum Tartan Heart (July) and Glasgow’s Summer Nights (July/August).

However, DF Concerts is set to go ahead with TRNSMT between 10–12 September on Glasgow Green with headliners Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and The Chemical Brothers, as well as Edinburgh’s Summer Sessions in early August with headliners DMAs, Tom Jones, Anne-Marie and Travis.


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