After more than three months of venue closures due to the Coronavirus lockdown, indoor, live music performances will legally be allowed to take place across the UK from August 1, with socially distanced audiences.
The news was announced by the British government on Friday (July 17) and followed a previous announcement on July 9 that outdoor performances with socially distanced audiences would be allowed to take place from July 11.
Friday’s news also follows the UK government’s announcement, at the start of the month, of a £1.57bn ($1.96bn) support package for Britain’s arts and culture sector.
The government’s guidance for indoor performing arts events includes measures such as increased deep cleaning, reduced venue capacity and limited ticket sales to ensure social distancing can be maintained.
Tickets will also need to be purchased online and venues are being encouraged to use e-tickets.
Venues should have clearly communicated social distancing marking in place in areas where queues form and adopt a limited entry approach.
One of the UK’s first series of public live music events since the COVID-19 lockdown is set to take place at London’s Camden Market, in the Stables Market Amphitheatre, which will host eight ticketed, free open-air weekend performances starting this coming Saturday (July 25) through to August 16, under the banner ‘Camden Unlocked’.
Camden Market is working with Xfm founder and NME Radio Station Manager, Sammy Jacob and live agent Neil O’Brien to produce the series.
Free ticket entry will be limited to 150 per day and a single act will perform each Friday, Saturday or Sunday afternoon, with the program featuring semi-acoustic sets from artists including Miles Kane, Shaun Escoffery, Stone Foundation, Sons of Pitches, Newton Faulkner, John Power, Mae Muller, and The Puppini Sisters, along with DJ sets by Don Letts, Shiine On and Solar Radio.
“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.”
Oliver Dowden, UK Culture Secretary
UK Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “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.
“From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country.
“This is a welcome step in the path to a return to normal and, coupled with our £1.57 billion rescue package, will help secure the future of this important sector.”
“I was keen to make sure as soon as conditions permitted we were able to return to some form of live music normality.”
Commenting on Camden Unlocked, Sammy Jacob said: “Having watched the economy, and specifically the live industry being decimated, the idea of sitting around and doing nothing was not an option.
“I was keen to make sure as soon as conditions permitted we were able to return to some form of live music normality.
“The key was to find a suitable location that met government guidelines, without severely impacting the experience.
“Being based in Camden Market the answer was right there in front of me – the Stables Market Amphitheatre with its open-air controlled space, and inbuilt audience dividers in the form of handrails that run down the length of the stepped theatre.
“I called Neil O’Brien, who took a look and got it immediately. Camden Market were also rapidly onboard providing financial support, in addition to providing free retail space in support of the Music Venue Trust.”
“I am incredibly excited to help program the artists appearing at one of the first live music events to take place in London for over three months.“
Neil O’Brien added: “I am incredibly excited to help program the artists appearing at one of the first live music events to take place in London for over three months.
“The artists involved have been absolutely brilliant and extremely supportive – reflecting the diverse nature of what Camden Market has to offer.
“It’s great to be able to get everyone safely back together, to enjoy the power of good music and good times”.
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