Van Morrison criticises the “pseudo-science” of socially distanced gigs

"We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward"

Van Morrison has criticised the “pseudo-science” of socially distanced gigs in a new open letter to fans.

The letter was shared after Morrison himself was announced to be playing a series of socially distanced shows across the next month.

The veteran musician was announced earlier this month to be playing two “socially distanced shows with reduced limited capacity” at Camden’s Electric Ballroom on September 5 and 6.


Last month, Morrison was also confirmed as a headliner at the UK’s first socially distanced venue – The Virgin Money Unity Arena – which opened at Newcastle Racecourse this month.

Taking to his website to air his concerns, Morrison said: “As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne’s Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and The London Palladium. This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.

“I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this.”

He went on, calling on fans and musicians to “fight the pseudo-science” of socially distanced gigs, and to “speak up”.

“Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again,” he said. “Come forward. “It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now.”


The new socially distanced arena in Newcastle opened earlier in August with two gigs from Sam Fender. Speaking to NME after the shows, Fender said: “I’m so proud of it. I’m proud that it’s our region that’s done it and proud that it’s the Geordies that are the trailblazers. I hope that it can keep going because people are dying for live music and I’m happy to play in whatever capacity we possibly can until this all blows over.”

A new socially distanced festival is coming to Norfolk next month – Wild Paths Festival will feature Gengahr, Another Sky and more.

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