Boris Johnson has announced today, a four-step road map plan to get out of lockdown and have things go ‘back to normal’. The Prime Minister has set out a way to ease the restrictions the UK is currently in and aim to ‘remove all legal limits on social contact’ by June 21st 2021. This means that large concerts, festivals and tours could start up again by late June, allowing music venues to start planning gigs that will definitely be going ahead. Read a summary of the full plan below or the full plan here.
BREAKING: The 4 steps to lifting lockdown in England.
There will be weeks between each step: 4 weeks to reflect on the data followed by 1 week notice to be given to relevant sectors and the public. pic.twitter.com/7RTql0pV7S
— Daniel Hewitt (@DanielHewittITV) February 22, 2021
Music Venue Trust Mark Davyd has stated the the governments road map plan has given the organisation the go-ahead to begin ‘imagining how we revive live music in grassroots music venues and develop that work into the full return of the domestic music scene.’
From the 17th May, large performances up to a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is lower for the venue) will be allowed. This could mean that smaller music venues and theatres will be allowed to put on shows and gigs to small crowds. This follows on from Johnsons discussion last week of having rapid testing for music venues and nightclubs to ensure these parts of the sector can open as they were unable to last year. Out-door venues of 4,000 people will also be allowed, or at hall-full capacity – whichever is lower.
Many in the music industry have called out to the government and Johnson to ensure that the music sector is not forgotten and supported equally throughout the rest of the pandemic. Greg Parmley, the CEO of LIVE has stated “While it is good to get some clarity following almost a year of confusion, as predicted our £4.5 billion industry is at the back of the queue to reopen. Any return to normality for live music could be months behind the rest of the economy. The Chancellor must acknowledge our extended closure in the Budget and provide the economic support needed to ensure the jobs and livelihoods of the hundreds of thousands of people that work in our industry exist as we come through this pandemic.”
This includes extending the current 5% rate VAT on tickets sales, which was discussed to be risen to 20%, financially hurting those in live music extensively. Similarly, David Martin CEO of Featured Artists Coalition agrees with Parmley stating ‘there is some way to go’. Acknowledging a slower approach was correct, Martin said “the government should learn from its “slow response on income support and other financial assistance” last year.”
Smaller festivals such as Maiden Voyage have been 100% confirmed to go ahead by the government. Maiden Voyage have stated that they have been given ‘provisional confirmation from the government that our festival will be going ahead as planned this year.’
However, the roadmap is reliant and based upon England passing four tests. These are the success of the vaccine rollout, the effectiveness of vaccines, how the NHS is coping with the current infection rate and any potential threats from new variants.