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U.K. INDOOR GIGS GET THE GREEN LIGHT

Socially distanced live performances can take place in indoor music venues in the U.K. beginning Saturday. The new conditions, however, have industry leaders raising concerns over the financial viability of venues to operate.

The Music Venues Trust has said that even with the go-ahead, it’s unlikely that the majority of venues will be able to open this weekend and deliver events that are financially viable. Only 100 out of the 900 currently closed venues will be able to reopen, they say. 

“Unfortunately, it remains the case that the vast majority of grassroots music venue are not financially able, or even have the physical premises layout, to deliver these newly permitted events,” the group said in a statement. “Those that can make social distancing work will be unlikely to be able to stage government compliant events tomorrow with this much notice.

“However, despite the challenges the announcement presents, we broadly welcome this progress towards the return of live music. If gigs are going to return in stages, which is the government plan, then we have reached stage 4 of that plan and can begin to imagine that stage 5, real gigs at real venues, might be achievable in the foreseeable future.”

UK Music Acting CEO Tom Kiehl has warned the music industry still faces an “extraordinarily difficult” future, despite the positive development. “Further easing of lockdown for live performance is a symbolic moment, yet it remains extraordinarily difficult to resume events and gigs in an economically viable way,” he said.

“The Government must ensure support measures for all aspects of the sector—including venues, festivals, musicians, performers and crew—are in place while many individuals and businesses in the sector still cannot get back to work.”

 

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