Delay to the end of lockdown will tip some music businesses into ‘final collapse’, says Meon Valley singer-songwriter

A SINGER-songwriter from the Meon Valley has warned that a delay to the end of lockdown will tip some music businesses into ‘final collapse’.

Monday, 14th June 2021, 1:02 pm
Victorious 2017

Picture: Paul Windsor
Victorious 2017 Picture: Paul Windsor

Frank Turner, who is a patron of the Music Venue Trust, said the expected announcement of a four-week extension of coronavirus restrictions in England is ‘disheartening’.

In a thread on Twitter, Turner described the impact a delay will have on the live music sector, which has been preparing for a June 21 restart at full capacity.

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Despite restrictions easing, many venues have not reopened with socially distanced audiences because of financial uncertainty.

Turner, 39, wrote: ‘So it looks like the lifting of social restrictions here in the UK is going to be pushed back again today. It’s disheartening, but it is what it is. A quick thought tho.

‘I’m not an epidemiologist, and I’m not here to argue the medical/scientific side of things. It may well be this is the right thing to do. A small point I feel bound to make is this:

‘A *lot* of people are loudly asking the question “What’s the big deal? How much of a difference does a 4 week delay (or whatever) make?” And the answer to that is, for some of us, a lot.

‘Some people, as far as I can tell, are not far off being back to living their normal lives. And that’s great, I’m happy for them. Some of us really, really aren’t.

‘The delay is going to tip some businesses into final collapse. It’s another blow to morale, another financial loss, after an appalling year and more.

‘That’s just in my industry, live music. There are many more affected by this.’

Turner, from Meonstoke, said the last weeks have been ‘about the hardest part of the whole shebang’ with regards to ‘mental health, morale and economics’.

He continued: ‘But like millions of others I’ll do my best to work it out. We’ll reschedule, do the sums again, thank the gods for people like @musicvenuetrust, and hope against hope something will be left on the other side of this.’

Turner said that saying ‘it’s not a big deal’ is ‘pretty parochial’, adding: ‘I’m glad it doesn’t affect you, but it does affect us, and a little consideration of that would be appreciated. Hope everyone’s doing OK.’

In July last year, Turner performed at the Clapham Grand in south London in front of a socially distanced audience as part of the government’s live events pilot scheme.

Greg Parmley, chief executive of trade body LIVE, said the delay will have a ‘seismic impact’ on the sector.

He said: ‘Our initial estimates show that a delay of up to a month would lead to the cancellation of around 5,000 planned events. That’s everything from festivals to grassroots music gigs.

‘We think it will cost the industry tens of millions of pounds and take work from thousands of people who have been without it for more than a year now. It is a seismic impact on the whole sector.’

Parmley said some festivals have already taken staff off furlough and begun constructing their sites ahead of the June 21 deadline.

‘To have the rug pulled from under our feet like this at the 11th hour is extremely devastating,’ he added.

Parmley called for the government to publish its report into live events, which gathered data at pilot concerts including the Brit Awards at London’s O2 Arena and a festival at Sefton Park in Liverpool.

He said: ‘We think it is completely unacceptable that this document is so critical to the discussion around the reopening of live events but it is not being made public.

‘We would really like it to be published now so we can see on what basis the government is making decisions about the future off our industry.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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