The UK live events industry has taken part in Red Alert Day, with hundreds of venues across 20 different towns and cities, including Manchester, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London, turning their lights on red on August 11th in support of the #WeMakeEvents campaign – calling on sustained support from the government amid the pandemic.
Trade body the Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA) is now asking the government to make grants available instead of loans to help businesses across the supply chain, while extending the furlough scheme (due to end in October) until the industry is back up and running again, NME reports.
Venues like the National Theatre, the London Eye, Tate Modern and the Royal Festival Hall are just a few establishments that teamed up with thousands of socially distanced volunteers to urge the government to further support the sector.
PLASA managing director Peter Heath was quoted by the news source as saying: “Large-scale events are not expected to reopen until spring 2021 at the earliest and the reality is that the sector can’t wait that long. The sector is on its last legs and now the whole industry is coming together to ask the government to ‘throw us a line’.”
In July, over 1,500 artists and industry figures voiced calls to stop “catastrophic damage” to live music during the pandemic, with the launch of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.
Following months of campaigning, the government revealed plans for funding to the tune of £1.57 billion to help arts, culture and heritage industries survive lockdown restrictions, providing emergency grants and loans to venues, independent cinemas, theatres, galleries, museums and so on.
Interestingly, the first socially distanced music venue has just held its first outdoor show, with Sam Fender taking to the stage at the new Virgin Money Unity Arena at Newcastle Racecourse on August 11th. There were 2,500 attendees watching the show from 500 platforms, all spaced 2m apart.
Gig-goers posted images and footage of the event online, revealing their thoughts on the new normal, with one tweeting that it all felt “very civilised” and that it “seems to work”.
But others weren’t quite as convinced, with fan Ashley Smith writing: “That’s not what gigs are for me. It’s the atmosphere of being surrounded by others captivated by what’s going on on the stage loving life.”
Music fans heading to the venue can arrive by car and park for free, use the pick up and drop off point if getting a lift or using a taxi, or arrive by bike or motorbike. They can’t, however, arrive by foot, coach or bus, or park overnight.
Food and drink can be collected on arrival, so pre-ordering seems like a wise idea, although you can also order food when you get to the venue. What do you think of the socially distanced music venue of the future? Let us know!
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