The 15th August saw lockdown measures ease further as gigs and live indoor performances were finally permitted to resume, observing Covid-19 measures outlined by the government in what crossed the threshold of stage four of the five-stage roadmap.
Musicians, promoters, agents and venue owners have waited eagerly for the announcement, which was officially declared on the 17th July and delayed from the 1st August. The news has been positively received by many, however, doubts have been expressed surrounding the social and economic challenges that the music sector now faces in the wake of the UK lockdown. Lockdown saw several arts venues close their doors with heavy hearts; many to remain redundant due to the economic damage caused by the temporary halt of business as usual. For those who will be reopening their doors, feelings of hope are tinged with an air of scepticism.
Mark Davyd from the UK’s Music Venue Trust expressed his concern for the viability of the new measures, saying that “the vast majority of grassroots music venue members of the Music Venues Alliance are not financially able, or even have an appropriate layout in the physical premises” to host these events in practise. Although without doubt, venues will be looking forward to holding events once more in the weeks ahead, the short notice of the newly permitted events will present challenges for many venues. Davyd concludes, “we broadly welcome this progress towards the return of live music” and hopes “that Stage 5, real gigs at venues, might be achievable in the foreseeable future”.
The road to normality, whatever that may look like, has just begun for the music industry and the wider arts industry. Michael Kill, CEO of Night Time Industries Association, asserts “this is still a long way off being back to normal for many businesses in the night time economy and events sector”. The Music Industry has arranged several campaigns, which have appealed to further government support, namely #LetTheMusicPlay and #WeMakeEvents. These campaigns and initiative have been widely successful, leading to a £1.57 billion financial package of support. Going forward, the industry at large will need backing from the government in various capacities to ensure a successful return of live events.