Earlier this week, veteran talent agent and Lollapalooza co-founder Marc Geiger predicted that concerts likely won’t return in the US until 2022 — a much bleaker timeline than the one previously provided by health experts. Meanwhile, our friends across the Atlantic will allow indoor concerts to take place beginning August 1st, 2020.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed the news on Friday, July 17th, as part of a larger discussion about the UK entering stage 4 of their five-stage reopening plan. While live indoor events will be allowed to return, there will be a strict set of guidelines in place, including social distancing measures, reduced capacity for venues, required online ticketing, frequent sanitization of sites, and staggered performance schedules.
“The UK’s performing arts sector is renowned across the world and I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing,” said UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden in a statement. “From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.”
This news follows the announcement of the world’s first socially-distanced music venue, located in Newcastle, England. The space is slated to host The Libertines and Two Door Cinema Club next month.
The new policy only applies to England and not the rest of the UK, as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are governed by their own national administrations. England, which is the most populous country in the UK, has a total of 252,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, but appears to have flattened its curve — unlike America, where we are experiencing a massive spike in cases and mask-wearing has become an issue of politics and not health. Here in the US, the continued shutdown of indoor shows could very well lead to the closure of 90% of all independent music venues.
Ahead of England’s official August 1st start date, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport will implement trial run-type performances with socially-distanced crowds, “using the findings there to inform final guidance for venues,” as Billboard reports.
If you’re looking to help artists who are struggling during this time, consider donating to charitable organizations like MusiCares’ COVID-19 Artist Relief Fund, Sweet Relief, and Artist Relief Project. Here at Consequence of Sound, we’re donating a portion of all proceeds from our web store to MusiCares, so go ahead and pick up a face mask or T-shirt.
From 1 August socially distanced audiences can return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues. This builds on pilots with @londonsymphony and others. So pleased to make progress to Stage 4 of our road map for culture. pic.twitter.com/Js7dQUghZ6
— Oliver Dowden (@OliverDowden) July 17, 2020