Quantcast

UNCERTAINTY HAUNTS U.K. LIVE BIZ

The U.K.’s live industry remains in a state of uncertainty, with Covid cases still on the rise at home and throughout Europe. Experts are warning against summer holidays abroad, posing questions for this year’s festival and touring season. Brexit brings another set of complications.

A number of summer events have announced dates and lineups, including Reading & Leeds, All Points East, Standon Calling, the Isle of Wight Festival and Bloodstock Open Air, as well as gatherings across Europe. And despite calling off this year’s edition, Glastonbury organizer Emily Eavis says they hope to stage a one-off concert in September. The U.K.’s roadmap out of lockdown marked 6/21 as the date nightclubs and venues could open. This display of confidence aside, agents and promoters still don't know that shows will return this year, with tours constantly being rescheduled.

Potential barriers include the inability of international acts to travel into the U.K. or through Europe and vice versa under workable circumstances that make sense financially. This could result in festivals operating with majority-British lineups.

Then there are the costs associated with mass testing, reduced capacity and securing venues, which are being booked up fast due to a backlog of rescheduled tours.

Brexit is another huge headache hindering the U.K.'s music-export business, due to the increased expenditures and bureaucracy now required to do business in wider Europe. 

The umbrella body UK Council of Music Makers is today calling on Downing Street to urgently implement a specific European-touring transition fund as no bilateral agreements with individual member states have been secured. It released a statement that reads: "Music makers are being forced to turn down opportunities to tour in Europe because of changes posed by Brexit as it stands due to additional costs. If they cannot work in person in Europe, this has a knock-on effect on radio play, streams, merchandise, festival bookings, future earnings—they are not being seen, nor heard, and it is negatively impacting the business across the board."

A tour manager we spoke to recently said this year is “going to be stop, start, stop, start, cancellations and having to constantly reconfigure and change things.”

The government is said to be considering using COVID-19 certificates that would show if someone has been vaccinated and therefore allowed to attend large events. It’s unclear if there would be a cost associated with this. Regardless, experts are saying it’s too soon for British citizens to book summer holidays, warning that opening up travel could result in a lockdown this winter as infections rise, which would likely have an impact on the ability to tour.

A tour manager we spoke to recently said this year is “going to be stop, start, stop, start, cancellations and having to constantly reconfigure and change things.” Next year may see the other extreme, where schedules are packed to the breaking point, which would bring a host of different challenges.

Continued our source, “Mental health and burnout isn’t always high on the list of priorities for agents and managers—it’s ‘How much can we get away with doing? How much are they paying? Are the offers on the table? Can we get there in time? Okay, we’ll do it.' That’s going to be dangerous.”

WALLEN FOR THE WIN
"Dangerous" nudges "SOUR." (11/30a)
CHART FINAL: 2021'S BIGGEST BOW
Big numbers for 30. (11/29a)
IGA UPS MORRIS
good 4 him (11/30a)
ADELE IS HEADING TO LAS VEGAS
Viva, Ms. Adkins (11/30a)
PUTTING THE POP
IN POPCORN
Putting the audio into audio-visual. (11/30a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)