Government Changes Rules On Alcohol Sales At Live Music Events

The live music industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors in the pandemic, and the most recent lockdown in November in the UK hasn’t helped struggling grassroots venues that were trying to get back on their feet.

One of the issues that music venues have identified with the government’s new tier system is that, in areas under Tier 2 restrictions where venues can open, alcohol can only be served alongside a “substantial meal”. Obviously, none of us go to a gig or DJ set with the intention of sitting down for some fine dining.

However, it seems that the government has listened to those in the industry who have expressed their concerns.

NME reported that, on 30 November, the government announced that it would allow grassroots music venues to sell alcohol at ticketed live shows from 2 December.

According to the publication, the purchase of a gig ticket shows the same consumer intention as the purchase of a meal, and therefore venues will be allowed to serve drinks at their venues during live performances.

This follows extensive lobbying from those within the music industry, who have spent weeks making the case that the consumption of culture should be treated equally to the consumption of food.

Mark Dayvd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust (MVT), told the publication that this is a big win for grassroots music venues that are in Tier 2 areas. “It makes a direct difference to the number of shows that can be delivered and is a significant step forward in the campaign to Revive Live Music and Reopen Every Venue Safely,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, Nathan Clark, a board member for the Association of Independent Promoters, described the decision as “a huge step in the right direction for music”.

“It gives a potential lifeline opportunity to both grassroots venues and promoters that simply wouldn’t have been possible without this amendment,” he added.

In November, UK Music released its Music By Numbers report, which revealed that the UK music industry was providing an incredibly valuable boost to the economy before Covid-19 hit.

The report, which covers 2019, revealed that the sector contributed a whopping £5.8 billion to the UK’s economy last year, which represented an 11 per cent increase on the £5.2 billion it contributed in 2018.

In addition to this direct contribution to the economy, music tourism in the UK brought £4.7 billion of spending to the country too.

At the time of the report’s release, UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin commented: “This report shows just how valuable our music industry is – and how important it is that we take action to protect it.”

He added: “The UK music industry was a vibrant, fast-growing and commercially successful sector before the pandemic hit, and with the right support it can be again.”

The announcement from the government regarding the Tier 2 restrictions is certainly a welcome boost, even if it doesn’t help the venues who will be covered by Tier 3 restrictions.

Even though live shows have been off the table for a considerable period, that doesn’t mean musicians have stopped recording and making new music. Find out about our dance music promotion and how we can help get your tunes in front of a host of DJs.