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England to scrap all remaining Covid restrictions

The English live music industry has welcomed the government’s plans to lift all remaining coronavirus restrictions.

Prime minister Boris Johnson today (21 February) announced the ‘Living with Covid-19’ plan which will put an end to self-isolation and free testing.

From Thursday (25 February), the legal requirement to self-isolate after a positive Covid test will be removed in England.

Meanwhile, free Covid testing – which has reportedly cost £15.7 billion – will end for the general public in England from 1 April.

The PM says restrictions can be lifted now because the levels of immunity are high and deaths are low.

“This is not back to business as usual for festivals and it is not a case of ‘job done’ for ministers”

The live music industry has hailed the end of Covid-19 restrictions as a “huge relief” but warns that ongoing support from the government is needed.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), says: “While we welcome legal restrictions around Covid-19 coming to an end and the prospect of a full capacity festival season, the effects of the pandemic are still being felt by the independent festival sector and the need for government action remains. With festival organisers facing crippling cost increases of up to 30% across operations and infrastructure, this is not back to business as usual for festivals and it is not a case of ‘job done’ for ministers.

“AIF reiterates its call for ongoing support from government in the form of continued VAT relief on festival tickets to maintain the current reduced 12.5% rate on tickets beyond the end of March; and to also explore some form of government-backed loan scheme for suppliers to alleviate some of these pressures and encourage investment in the festival supply chain.”

Greg Parmley, CEO, LIVE says: “The end of Covid-19 restrictions represents a huge, welcome relief to the live music sector, which lost billions in revenue throughout the pandemic. But with spiralling costs and thousands of companies struggling with pandemic debt, it’s crucial that government does not abandon and set the sector adrift, just as it starts to tread water again.

“We are calling for a reverse to the planned hike in VAT rates and the imminent end to business rates relief in order to avoid further business closures and job losses within our sector.”

“The extension of VAT & Business rates relief remains a key ask”

Michael Kill, CEO of NTIA, says: “The withdrawal of the remaining covid restrictions is welcomed by the industry, and will further support business recovery and go some way to regaining customer confidence.

“Our responsibility to keep customers and staff safe remains our focus, maintaining baseline mitigations as we have done since the 19th July 2021.

“Experts have suggested that recovery to pre covid trading levels will take several years, but we cannot lose sight of the short term role that the government must continue to play in supporting the sector, beginning with the chancellor’s budget in March.

“The extension of VAT & Business rates relief remains a key ask, allowing businesses the financial headroom to survive, on this long road to recovery.

“Given the commitment and support, over the last two years, that the sector has given to the government’s public health strategy, it is only right that they recognise and support the hardest-hit industries through the final phase of this crisis.”

Greg Marshall, general manager of Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), says: “AFEM welcomes the end of all legal Covid-19 regulations and the move to guidance announced in the UK today. However, the fragility of the chain of businesses and individuals which make up the electronic music club and events ecosystem needs to be recognised. Ongoing support measures will be required to ensure the recovery of this sector, in parallel with industry action to build consumer confidence and ensure a return of audience numbers to all event types in the long term”.

England follows in the footsteps of DenmarkSweden, the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland – all of which have recently announced plans to lift all remaining restrictions.

 


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More European markets set to relax restrictions

Several European countries have begun relaxing Covid restrictions amid hopes the Omicron wave has peaked in certain parts of the continent.

Large indoor events will resume and nightclubs permitted to reopen in Scotland from 24 January in acknowledgement of a “severe fall” in infection rates. Outdoor events were given the green light to welcome back spectators from 17 January.

The tightened measures had been in place since 26 December last year. First minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the country had “turned the corner on the Omicron wave”, as reported positive cases dropped to 20,268 over the last three days compared to 36,526 in the same period last week.

In England, all remaining coronavirus measures – including mandatory self-isolation for confirmed infections – could be lifted as early as March under plans being drawn up by the government.

In Wales, the number of people allowed to attend an outdoor event rose from 50 to 500 from 15 January. From this Friday, crowds will be allowed to return to sporting events and there will be no limits on those attending outdoor events.

The developments provide renewed encouragement for the live sector after a growing number of early 2022 tours were cancelled or postponed over Covid fears

And from Friday 28 January, nightclubs can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally, although Covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.

The developments provide renewed encouragement for the live sector after a growing number of early 2022 tours were cancelled or postponed over Covid fears.

However, in Sweden, a 500 capacity limit is being imposed on live events from tomorrow (19 January), although an event is permitted to host more than 500 people if the organiser divides the room so that participants from different sections do not come into contact with each other. In such cases, the 500-person limit applies to each section.

Research from the Netherlands, meanwhile, suggests the country’s 2G (covering people who have either vaccinated or recovered from Covid in the past six months) and 3G (vaccinated/recovered/tested negative) restrictions are cutting cases by just under 10% and 5% respectively.

The Dutch live sector’s hopes for a swift reopening were dashed over the weekend, with a review on the reopening of cultural venues not due to take place until 25 January.

 


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UK markets announce plans to ease restrictions

Wales and Scotland have announced plans to roll back their Covid-19 restrictions.

In Scotland, restrictions on large outdoor events will come to an end on Monday 17 January.

The move will allow fans to return to outdoor concerts and football matches, after Covid restrictions were put in place on Boxing Day, reducing outdoor events to a capacity of 500.

Event organisers will now have to check the vaccine certification of at least 50% of attendees, rather than the current 20%, or at least 1,000 people, depending on which figure is higher.

From Monday the requirement to be ‘fully vaccinated’ for the purposes of Covid certification will include having a booster if the second dose was more than four months ago.

It will still be possible to gain admission to events and venues covered by the certification scheme by providing proof of a recent negative lateral flow test, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed.

Nightclubs have been closed since 26 December but the First Minister has said that all restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from 24 January.

Scotland has said that all restrictions, including the closure of nightclubs, could be lifted from 24 January

In Wales, the First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the relaxing of the rules and stated that the peak of the Omicron wave is now behind the country.

The relaxation will begin this Saturday (15 January) when the number of people allowed to attend an outdoor event will rise from 50 to 500.

From Friday 21 January, crowds will be allowed to return to sporting events and there will be no limits on those attending outdoor events.

From Friday 28 January, nightclubs can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally, although Covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres.

From Thursday 10 February, Wales will return to a three-week review cycle as the country returns to alert level 0.

From 28 January, nightclubs in Wales can reopen and hospitality venues will be allowed to operate normally

Northern Ireland is also considering lifting some Covid-19 restrictions next week, First Minister Paul Givan has revealed.

Since 26 December, indoor standing events have not been permitted. For outdoor and indoor events, either proof of vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 is required.

Nightclubs are currently closed while hospitality businesses are operating under a series of restrictions. Givan said businesses needed to be able to operate “normally”.

He added that relaxation would depend on health advice received by the executive ahead of its meeting next week, but stressed that so far the picture was “encouraging”.

In England, restrictions were last updated on 15 December, from which point vaccine passports and facemasks have been required in order to attend concerts.

The wearing of face masks is mandated in all venues where crowds gather, and Covid certificates are needed for: venues where large crowds gather, including nightclubs; unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people; and unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people.

The introduction of a negative LFT in the certification scheme, meanwhile, followed extended lobbying by the sector to include the measure in any new restrictions.

 


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Omicron in Europe: Latest restrictions on live music

As markets across Europe step up efforts to combat the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, IQ is endeavouring to update the industry on the most recent restrictions affecting live music across the continent.

Below you’ll find the latest information on certification schemes, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and lockdowns affecting key European markets.

Please note that we will aim to keep this article as up-to-date as possible but all information is subject to change. 

To submit an update to this, please get in touch. This article was last updated on 5 January.

Austria
Austria will suspend a lockdown for the unvaccinated during year-end holidays, allowing them to meet in groups of up to 10 on three days around Christmas, as well as New Year’s Eve.

On 12 December, the government ended the three-week lockdown for vaccinated people across most of the country.

The relaxation, which varies from region to region, largely allows for the reopening of theatres, museums and other cultural and entertainment venues. Masks will still be required in public spaces.

Austria is also set to become the first European country to make Covid vaccinations compulsory, with the law due to take effect from 1 February 2022.

Belgium
Music venues are to be shuttered and all indoor mass events are prohibited until at least 28 January.

Outdoor events are permitted to take place but social distancing must be maintained and masks are required. Events with more than 100 visitors must have a one-way circulation plan and a separate entrance and exit.

The new rules were introduced on 26 December 2021. Previously, indoor events in Belgium could take place with a seated and masked audience of no more than 200 people.

Denmark
Music venues, among other indoor cultural institutions, have been ordered to close from 19 December until 17 January 2022.

The Danish parliament has acted quickly to reopen compensation schemes for event organisers, smaller venues and artists.

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at live music association Dansk Live, welcomes the agreement: “Under the circumstances, it’s a good deal. The rapporteurs and the minister have been very outreach in the dialogue around the agreement, and we feel that they have really listened to us. We really appreciate that.”

England
Vaccine passports and facemasks will be required in order to attend concerts in England from 15 December. The wearing of face masks will be mandated in all venues where crowds gather, and Covid certificates will be needed for: venues where large crowds gather, including nightclubs; unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people; and unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people.

The introduction of a negative LFT in the certification scheme, meanwhile, followed extended lobbying by the sector to include the measure in any new restrictions.

France
From 3 January, indoor events are limited to 2,000 capacity and outdoor gatherings are restricted to 5,000 people, while nightclubs will remain closed until further notice.

The government said on 17 December it will present a bill early next year to change the French health pass into a vaccination pass. That means people will have to be vaccinated in order to enter music venues and many other leisure and entertainment facilities.

Under the current rules, a recent negative test can serve as a health pass even without vaccination.

Germany
The so-called 2G rule (meaning genesen for recovered in the past six months and geimpft for vaccinated) has been extended to cover the whole country – meaning only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid can attend live music venues and other cultural events.

Outdoor events are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 15,000 attendees, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50% cap and crowds of up to 5,000. Masks are mandatory at all events.

Nightclubs will be required to close from 28 December. Football matches will be played behind closed doors from that date, with private gatherings restricted to 10 people.

Ireland
From Monday 20 December, hospitality and cultural venues including music venues, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres must close by 20:00.

All indoor events can operate at 1,000 or 50% capacity and must be fully seated. The number of spectators allowed to attend sporting events is now capped at 50% capacity, up to a maximum of 5,000 people. The measures will stay in place until at least 30 January 2022.

Face masks will be obligatory unless people are eating or drinking. Nightclubs — which in October reopened for the first time in 19 months — have been closed since 7 December.

Italy
The government has banned concerts until 31 January and extended the country’s state of emergency to 31 March 2022. Nightclubs will also remain closed until the end of this month, and the consumption of food and drink at concert halls and other indoor locations is also banned until the end of March, amid the spread of the omicron variant. The use of FFP2 masks is also compulsory on public transport, in theatres, concert halls and cinemas and for sporting events until at least 31 March.

Netherlands
For the second time in the space of a week, the Dutch government has imposed tighter restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

It was announced on 18 December that residents will be subject to a full lockdown from Sunday 19 December until at least Friday 14 January 2022.

During this time, music venues will be closed and events will not be permitted. Residents must stay at home as much as possible and adhere to the 1.5-metre social distancing rule when outside.

The Dutch government has put plans to implement a 2G system on hold until the new year, saying there is not currently enough time to draw up the legislation.

Northern Ireland
As of 26 December, indoor standing events are not permitted. For outdoor and indoor events, either proof of vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 is required.

Norway
As of 13 December, a maximum of 20 people is permitted at public indoor events without fixed allocated seats, and 50 people with fixed allocated seats.

At outdoor public events, a maximum of 100 people is permitted without fixed allocated places, and up to 200 in three cohorts with fixed allocated places.

For all indoor events, whether seated or standing, organisers must ensure that one-metre social distancing can be maintained between attendees. In addition, all attendees at indoor events must wear masks.

Event organisers are required to register guests for track and trace.

Poland
From 15 December, nightclubs will close and the maximum number of people allowed in other venues will be reduced from 50% capacity to 30%.

Venues can increase their operating capacity by only admitting vaccinated attendees, with staff required to check vaccination certificates. Face coverings are mandatory inside music venues.

Portugal
As of 1 December, Covid passports certifying full inoculation, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test result, will be mandatory to access events, restaurants, gyms and other leisure and hospitality businesses. Masks will be required for indoor spaces.

In addition, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be required to show a negative test to be granted entry to large events without marked seats, sports venues, bars and nightclubs.

From 26 December, bars and nightclubs will be closed, with outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people

For the week of 2–9 January (aka ‘containment week’), working from home will be obligatory, bars will close and school holidays extended to prevent a post-holiday season spread.

Romania
Concerts and events in Romania will be staged at 50% capacity to a maximum of 1,000 people (all of whom must be vaccinated) with a 10:00 pm curfew.

Scotland
As of 6 December, evidence of a negative Covid test – from either a lateral flow test or PCR – is included in Scotland’s Covid-19 passport scheme. Previously, attendees were required to show proof of full vaccination.

The Scottish government is implementing further restrictions on large-scale events and public spaces from 26 December.

From 27 December until the first week in January, when it is reviewed, the government is advising people to limit their social contacts, to adhere to social distancing advice and to stay at home where possible. Nightclubs will be closed for three weeks from that date.

Spain
As of 3 December, Covid certification demonstrating proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus, or a recent negative test is required to enter music venues, bars, restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, care homes, or attend events in hotels and restaurants with indoor dance floors. For indoor standing events, capacity is set at 80% maximum.

Sweden
Indoor events with between 20 and 500 attendees that don’t require vaccinations certificates must now be seated. For events with more than 500 participants, vaccinations certificates and social distancing are required.

Groups must be able to keep a distance of at least one meter sideways and forwards and backwards from other groups. If a group is larger than eight people, the organiser must divide the party with a maximum of eight participants in each.

The restrictions were introduced on 23 December and the effect will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Switzerland
As of 6 December, masks will have to be worn indoors wherever a certificate obligation applies. Events and venues, both indoor and outdoor, will be allowed to restrict entry to people who are vaccinated or recovered. The measures will be in effect until 24 January.

Wales
Large events are prohibited with maximum numbers of 30 at an indoor event and 50 outdoors. Nightclubs must close.

The NHS Covid Pass is needed for entry to concert halls and many other venues. Face masks are still required in most public places.

 


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UK nations divide over vaccine certification

UK governments have this week announced varying approaches towards vaccine certification and Covid-19 requirements, in some cases posing new logistical challenges for the live music industry.

Wales
On Tuesday (6 October), the Welsh government announced that everyone will need an NHS Covid Pass to enter nightclubs and large events from next week.

As of 11 October, anyone aged over 18 will be required to show the pass to prove they are either fully vaccinated or have had a negative lateral flow test result within the last 48 hours.

The pass will be compulsory for anyone who wants to attend:

People in Wales will need an NHS Covid Pass to enter nightclubs and large events from next week

Pablo Janczur, director of events at Think Orchard, which operates in more than 20 venues in Wales, says that the implementation of the Covid Pass will add another obstacle in venues’ post-pandemic recovery.

“We’ve got a lot of ground to make up and the Covid pass just adds an extra layer of resources – no matter how small,” he says.

“It’s going to require extra resources to check everybody and deal with the people who didn’t get the memo and turned up without a pass for whatever reason. I think it’s going to make life a bit more difficult for us, operationally, with all the venues we work with.”

Janczur also warns that Wales’s restrictions will put the market at a competitive disadvantage to neighbouring England, which lifted all restrictions on 19 July.

“Since the opening happened, people have been popping over the bridge to Bristol so we’ve been worried about a competitive disadvantage for a while. People can do stuff in Wales, but they can easily get to Bristol or Hereford or anywhere over the border,” he adds.

In Scotland, vaccine passports became mandatory for large events and nightclubs last Friday

Scotland
Promoters and venues in Scotland are facing some of the toughest restrictions in the UK after the government introduced mandatory vaccine passports.

Vaccine passports became mandatory for large events and nightclubs last Friday (1 October) but ‘a vast majority’ of people experienced repeated problems in registering and uploading their personal vaccine status to the app.

The event industry – which warned against the policy – is calling for the scheme to be scrapped immediately to avoid further damage to a ‘very fragile nighttime economy’.

Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro Live, which works in numerous venues across the UK, said the Scottish government’s position on a mandatory vaccine passport “seems overly draconian”.

“Currently, most shows we are running require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative lateral flow test result to be shown when required,” explains Galbraith.

“We think this is the best approach as it offers customers reassurance and provides a safe environment for our shows to take place.”

N.I yesterday announced a rollback of restrictions which will see the reintroduction of non-seated indoor shows

Northern Ireland
In more positive news, Northern Ireland yesterday (7 October) announced a rollback of restrictions which will see the reintroduction of non-seated indoor shows from 14 October.

In addition, the legal requirement for social distancing in bars and restaurants is to be removed from 31 October.

Nightclubs are also to be allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020, meaning legal restrictions on dancing in venues will be scrapped.

However, ministers have agreed to retain the mandatory wearing of face coverings in certain settings.

The government has asked some sectors to put in place mitigations including proof of double vaccination or a negative lateral flow test but it is not legally enforced.

Plans for vaccine passports could be revived under the English government’s Plan B for coronavirus

England
As of 19 July, large events, such as music concerts and sporting events have resumed without any limits on attendance or social distancing requirements and attendees are no longer legally required to wear a face mask.

However, the compulsory use of vaccine passports would be implemented under the government’s more stringent Plan B rules, with only double-jabbed gig-goers allowed entry, and negative lateral flow tests no longer allowed.

The proposal will only be introduced if the country faces a difficult winter with rising Covid cases in the colder months, the government said.

Ministers recently warned that the government needed to be prepared to “act swiftly” and adopt measures such as vaccine passports “at short notice” if there were “unsustainable pressures” on the NHS as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

 


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UK open for business as quarantine axed for int’l artists

International performers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States or European Union will no longer need to quarantine after entering England from Monday, the British government has announced.

The change, which comes into force at 4am BST on 2 August, will see the replacement of mandatory quarantine with a single Covid-19 test before departing their country of origin and a PCR test on the second day after their arrival in England. The new rules apply to all countries rated ‘amber’ for coronavirus risk, with the exception of travellers from France, who will still be required to quarantine.

In addition to the pre-departure test, arrivals from the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.

In a statement, LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), which represents the UK’s live music business, welcomes the move, saying it will enable foreign artists to play shows and festivals in England in the coming months.

“We are extremely pleased to see that government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA,” says a LIVE spokesperson. “This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown.”

To take advantage of the changes, artists will need to have taken a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency or the US Food and Drug Administration (ie Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) and been vaccinated in either the EU or US.

“This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months”

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps says: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel, and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade, this is progress we can all enjoy.

“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data, but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”

It is not known when Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which, unlike England, have devolved local governments) will follow suit in doing away with mandatory quarantine.

A Scottish government spokesperson tells the Scotsman it will wait for a whole-of-UK solution before opening Scotland’s borders, and warns against travel for leisure: “We aim to come to a four-nations position on international travel restrictions wherever possible. However, our current position remains international travel for holidaying purposes remains risky and subject to sudden change.

“We have said before people should think very carefully about travelling, and especially so given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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New funding rounds announced in UK

Millions of pounds worth of further grants and loans have been made available in England and Scotland to help the UK live industry recover from Covid-19.

Arts Council England (ACE) has opened applications for a second round of repayable finance for culturally significant organisations in England.

The programme, which is part of the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF), aims to support those organisations as they transition back to a ‘viable and sustainable operating model’ during the 2021/22 financial year.

The budget for the second round is up to £100 million and the minimum amount that can be applied for is £1m. The final round of CRF grants, totalling around £300m, are expected to open for applications in early January.

Organisations who have previously been awarded a CRF loan are not eligible to apply for further CRF loans, while previously successful grant applicants can.

Last week, the Government and ACE announced the first-round recipients of the repayable finance scheme which included London venues the Royal Albert Hall (£20.74m) and Southbank Centre, while Alexandra Palace (pictured) was awarded £2,967,600 from the £60m Capital Kickstart Fund. The latest grants and loans marked a milestone £1bn in funding allocated.

Elsewhere, the Scottish government has announced an extra £13 million to provide further support for the events sector in Scotland.

Of this, £6 million has been committed for the establishment of a new fund which will open this week to support those event businesses which are critical to Scotland’s events sector, and without which the capacity to deliver major events would be significantly reduced.

“This [£13m] will help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery”

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide grants from £25,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 to support approximately 50 to 100 event businesses whose primary role as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues is critical to the survival of the events sector in Scotland, and upon whom the wider events industry and supply chain are most reliant for their own business and operations.

The remaining funding will be used to set up a separate fund to provide broader support to businesses across the full range of the events sector, including the supply chain, and will be announced early in the new year.

The latest funding follows the £10 million announced by the culture secretary in July for the events industry, of which £6 million was allocated to the now-closed Event Industry Support Fund while £2 million was allocated to Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund currently being run by EventScotland.

“The events sector has faced severe challenges throughout 2020 as the restrictions necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic have left most businesses unable to operate. While the arrival of a vaccine offers grounds for hope, the events sector and its wider supply chain will continue to experience difficulties for some time to come,” says culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

“We were able to provide financial support for the events sector in the autumn but we have continued to listen and we acknowledge that further funding is required. This additional £13 million will allow us to help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery when it is safe to operate again.

“Scotland has a well-earned reputation for delivering successful events at local, national and international level. We are working collaboratively with the industry to ensure that the sector has a future to look forward to and that we maintain our position as the perfect stage for events.”

 


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Live streams exempted from new UK lockdown

The new lockdown measures which come into force in England tomorrow (5 November) will not affect upcoming livestreamed concerts, the UK culture secretary has confirmed.

In a Twitter thread, Oliver Dowden, the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sports (DCMS), explained that venues are places of work (people in England are still allowed to travel to work where necessary) and so are exempt from the restrictions, which come to an end on 2 December.



Venues are also allowed to open for rehearsals during the lockdown period.

Among the high-profile streaming concerts taking place in England during lockdown are Niall Horan and Kylie Minogue, a double header for concert streaming specialist Driift, which take place at the Royal Albert Hall London and in a specially created digital world, respectively.

ATC Management’s Ric Salmon, the CEO of Driift, tells IQ he’s “delighted livestreaming has an exemption, and that all Driift shows will continue as planned, including Niall Horan and Kylie Minogue this Saturday, and the Vamps on 21 November 21.

“Given the disruption everyone’s currently facing elsewhere, it’s absolutely crucial that artists, musicians, crew and all in the wider music sector can still have this outlet for work, and we can keep building what is proving to be a vibrant and long-term business that audiences love.”

 


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Outdoor events get go-ahead in England

Small open-air concerts, festivals and other live events can resume in England this weekend, provided social distancing measures are applied, the government announced yesterday (9 July).

The news comes in a week of positive developments for the UK live industry, following the announcement of a £1.57 billion aid package for the cultural sector on Sunday and a reduction in value-added tax (VAT) levied on event tickets on Wednesday.

The easing of restrictions, which sees the country move to stage three of a five-step roadmap for the reopening of the live entertainment industry, allows outdoor shows to take place “with a limited and socially distanced audience”.

Venues will also have to use electronic ticketing systems and keep a record of visitor details in case test and trace measures are needed.

“Our culture, heritage and arts are too precious to lose. That’s why we’re protecting venues like theatres from redevelopment if they fall on hard times,” says culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

“From 11 July we can all enjoy performances outdoors with social distancing and we are working hard to get indoor audiences back as soon as we safely can, following pilots.”

The government is currently working alongside industry bodies including the Musicians’ Union and UK Theatre, as well as with venues such as the London Palladium, to pilot a number of small indoor performances to inform plans on how to get indoor venues back up and running.

“It is a step forward that some performances can resume in limited outdoor settings, but there is still no date for a return to indoor live performances”

Indoor events will be permitted to reopen in England in the next stage of the roadmap, restricted to a “limited, distanced audience” and stage five allows for the reopening of all events with fuller audiences, but dates have yet to be given for the latter stages of the recovery roadmap.

Dowden adds that the government is working to give “further clarity on restart dates”.

Members of the UK entertainment industry have repeatedly criticised the absence of dates from the government’s reopening roadmap.

“It is a step forward that some performances can resume in limited outdoor settings, but there is still no date for a return to indoor live performances, either with restricted or full audiences,” comments Incorporated Society of Musicians CEO Deborah Annetts.

“This uncertainty hangs over many thousands of musicians whose income is overwhelmingly dependent on performing, and whose lives have ground to a complete halt as a result of Covid-19.”

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill says that the announcement “lack[s] any real detail or information on where our sector stands”.

“We implore the government in the strongest terms to recognise our sector within Arts and Culture, and prioritise sector specific support before some amazing cultural businesses are lost forever,” says Kill.

Photo: UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0) (cropped)

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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