Indoor Live Concerts to Return to England Beginning in August — with Proper Social Distancing Measures

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

England is approaching Stage 4 of its five-stage reopening plan enacted by the government as a means of slowly returning to “normal” after the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and part of the next phase includes the resumption of indoor live concerts.

According to a recent report from Billboard, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on July 17 that indoor theaters, music and performance venues can resume hosting audiences — with social distancing measures in place — on Aug. 1.

More, via Billboard:

In the lead up to the August start date, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will conduct pilots of performances with socially-distanced audiences — including the London Symphony Orchestra at St. Luke’s London — using the findings there to inform final guidance for venues. The announcement notes that “audiences, performers and venues will be expected to maintain social distancing at all times,” with measures to include reduced capacity, online ticket purchases to reduce person-to-person contact, social distancing markers, increased deep cleaning measures, staggered performance schedules and maintaining social distance between performers where possible.

“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 U.K. culture secretary Oliver Dowden in a statement. “From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.”

As of Billboard‘s report, the live concert resumption allowance includes only venues in England, as other nearby countries have their own guidelines and/or restrictions in place.

The state of live music in the United States, meanwhile, finds itself in a prolonged state of despair, with many independently-owned venues fearing for their continued existence — forming the National Independent Venue Association in desperate hopes of securing financial assistance from the government to avoid having to permanently close their doors due to the pandemic.

While everybody would like to resume live concerts stateside, it remains to be seen how long this might take to become a relatively realistic concept.

For what it’s worth, Variety published a report on July 17 — the same day as England’s announcement of its new guidelines — Marc Geiger, longtime head of music at WME and Lollapalooza co-founder, said he doesn’t foresee concerts returning until 2022 at the earliest.

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