Prime Minister Boris Johnson has offered the most promising glimmer of hope yet for the live entertainment industry with his lockdown roadmap measures, which should see all concert venues reopen after June 21.
Now, it has emerged that some concert venues are already in the process of testing full capacity live shows to work out exactly how crowds can begin to fill their halls safely.
June 21 could be a landmark moment for the music business which is among the industries to have suffered the most in the coronavirus pandemic.
The big question is: when doors reopen, how should customers expect to navigate health and safety measures while still trying to live their best lives on the dancefloor?
Clapham Grand in south London already has a host of shows scheduled to take place later this year, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor, James Bay and Ru Paul’s US and UK Drag Race stars among the acts hoping to return to the stage.
Per Mr Johnson plan Covid-19 cases should dramatically drop by the summer thanks to vaccine, but Clapham Grand will still adhere to health and safety measures.
Ally Wolf, manager of the Clapham Grand, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We will be facilitating all that’s required to be Covid compliant – as we did when we pioneered the sector’s reopening in July last year – as the first venue to carry out a pilot live show.
‘We now have 80 physically distanced shows under our belt – which took place from Aug-Dec 2020.’
Hopeful of welcoming even more party-goers, Wolf continued: ‘We are working with The Music Venue’s Trust & The DCMS on potential pilot “full capacity” live shows with lateral testing as a requirement to help explore the operational and practical implications of this.’
Wolf praises Mr Johnson for filling the industry with ‘reinforced optimism for the future’ after several dreary months of uncertainty.
‘This feels like the first time a realistic timeline has been issued which – combined with the successful vaccine roll out – our industry’s incredible approach to all required Covid compliance – gives us hope for the future,’ the general manager said.
Wolf urged Mr Johnson’s Government to deliver ‘clear and consistent communication’ going forward, and giving enough notice of changes and requirements for additional Covid compliance.
He added: ‘More than ever [we need] a financial support package, including the extending of furlough, to carry us through this increased period of closure, and what could be a six month and beyond period of trying to get ourselves back to pre Covid trading levels with a hesitant market coming out of a global pandemic.’
For all his optimism about June 21, Wolf is still aware that it’s ‘not the answer all our problems’.
‘We – like many businesses – are currently straddled with debt and many hurdles to overcome to enable us to get back to where we were in 2019,’ he said.
London’s Royal Albert Hall are also moving forward with plans for a blockbuster summer.
They’ve just released a new video voiced by Sir Mick Jagger and directed by BAFTA-nominated Tom Harper about the history of live music to remind audiences that the Hall will be ready to welcome fans as soon as the time is right.
Craig Hassall, CEO of Royal Albert Hall, told us: ‘It is fantastic news that the vaccination programme is going so well and that the country is taking tentative steps towards reopening.
‘It is welcome to have a target date of June 21 for reopening at full capacity.
‘While we know how much people need to look forward to coming together for live events, for the music sector, the lack of insurance and capacity restrictions until at least June 21 mean that the Hall cannot begin to return to full operation for at least four more months.’
The Royal Albert Hall has impressively been able to retain the majority of its workforce but say it’s essential that Chancellor Rishi Sunak extends the furlough scheme.
Credit: Original article published here.