Live music to return from 19 July as UK government announces end to Covid restrictions

Festival Crowd
(Image credit: Linka A Odom / Getty Images)

BACK TO LIVE: The UK live music industry has welcomed the government's announcement that it is lifting all Covid restrictions. From 19 July, there will be no Covid-related capacity limits on live events, with social distancing measures and mask-wearing to be enforced at the discretion of venues and event organisers.

In a statement, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) said the news was “welcome news for millions of music fans, for artists, crew, venues and local communities who have been deprived of live music and work for so long.“

The MVT said its goal now was to ensure the safe reopening of UK venues, regardless of what Covid restrictions might be in place, as cases continue to rise in the UK as the more contagious Delta variant establishes itself.

“We have been working alongside the grassroots music venue sector throughout this crisis to identify methods by which we can achieve that, regardless of any government guidelines or limitations or restrictions. The keyword for us and the sector throughout these long difficult months has been ‘safely’.“ 

But industry bodies such as the LIVE (Live music Industry Venues & Entertainment), and Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) struck a note of caution, urging the government to back a scheme that ensures festivals and live music events can get insurance cover for cancellations.

Insurance remains the key obstacle to planning with confidence and there is no rationale for not implementing such a scheme if the government’s roadmap is truly irreversible

Paul Reed, CEO for the Association for I

Over half of the UK's summer festivals have been cancelled, and events organisers and live music professionals fear that more restrictions could cause further disruption to an industry sector that contributes $4.6 billion to the UK economy, and lost 85 per cent of its revenues in 2020.

LIVE said that the commercial insurance industry had “failed“ the live music industry over Covid cancellations, and said that government intervention was needed to provide security and stability to the sector.

”Government ministers have repeatedly said that a scheme would be announced once the legal barriers to full performances were removed,” said Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE in a statement. ”Well, we are now almost at that point and there must be no further delay if we are to reap the benefits of the superb vaccine roll-out.”  

Paul Reed, CEO for the Association for Independent Festivals said a government-backed insurance scheme was vital. ”Insurance remains the key obstacle to planning with confidence and there is no rationale for not implementing such a scheme if the government’s roadmap is truly irreversible,” he said, adding that guidelines must be provided by 12 July for test and trace and isolation procedures for staff working at festivals.

You can read the full LIVE statement on the government's announcement here

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.