UK government announces 'five-stage roadmap' for live music's return

(Image credit: Recep-bg / Getty)

The UK government has revealed a five-stage "roadmap"  for the performing arts sector in an effort to begin its return to business after the coronavirus lockdown. But so far it's missing a vital component for artists.

The plan for a "phased return" lacks any kind of timeframe for the return of live performances that are the main source of income for many professional musicians. 

Despite Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden claiming the government's roadmap offered a "clear pathway back," may artists may be left with more questions than answers.

The five-stage phased return is planned as follows: 

  • Stage One - Rehearsal and training (no audiences and adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Two - Performances for broadcast and recording purposes (adhering to social distancing guidelines)
  • Stage Three - Performances outdoors with an audience plus pilots for indoor performances with a limited distance audience
  • Stage Four - Performances allowed indoors/outdoors (but with a limited distanced audience indoors)
  • Stage Five - Performances allowed indoors/outdoors (with a fuller audience indoors)

(Image credit: Joby Sessions/Future)

A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport suggested to the BBC that the first two stages could take place immediately.

Some rehearsal facilities are already planning on reopening on 4 July. 

"We know the challenges - theatres must be full to make money, and performers need to be safe on stage as they sing, dance and play instruments," said Mr Dowden.

"But I am determined to ensure the performing arts do not stay closed longer than is absolutely necessary to protect public health."

"I know the public wants its theatres open, our brilliant performers want to go back to work, and we will do all we can to get them fully back up and running," he added.

As well as lacking timeframes for the return of gigs, the plan doesn't mention any additional funding to help venues survive until indoor gigs return. 

MusicRadar will be following this story as it develops. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.