Kilimanjaro Live boss reveals target date for the return of full-capacity gigs in the UK

Stuart Galbraith warned, however, that a return to normality can't be achieved "until the virus is perceived across society to be contained"

Stuart Galbraith, the boss of live promoters Kilimanjaro Live, has revealed the target date by which he hopes that gigs will be able to return to full capacity in the UK.

The live music industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic this year, with only a very small number of socially distanced or reduced capacity gigs taking place in the UK since the lockdown was ordered in March.

Galbraith, who is also the vice-chair of the Concert Promoters Association, is hopeful that gigs in the UK will be able to return to full capacity by spring next year, earmarking April 8 as a target restart date.

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“We’ve got some big asks still of government and we really need to focus upon those,” Galbraith told Music Week. “Number one is a date: when can we get going? And I think that we should be pushing for a date that is April 8.

“The reason I say that is a) it’s immediately after Easter and b) I think government will be able to find that acceptable — I think it will fit in with political and society agendas. It’s midweek, so it’s not going to be a date you’re going to see people go crazy on, like a Saturday, and we could ease into it.”

Galbraith acknowledged that any return to normality in the live music industry was still at least six months away, saying that much of the sector had been anticipating the tightening of government restrictions in recent weeks amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus cases in the UK.

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A crowd at London’s O2 Academy Brixton (Picture: Ollie Millington/Redferns)

“The announcements were really just playing out what we have been anticipating for the last two or three months,” he said.

“It’s not realistic to expect we can open without social distancing, at full capacity, until the virus is perceived across society to be contained. And that full capacity gigs and mass gatherings are not only scientifically estimated to be safe, but are also accepted by the customer as having the confidence to come to those shows. So there’s a fine line to tread.

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“We need to be careful that we come out too early and annoy and anger customers. But at the same time obviously, for everybody’s careers and livelihoods, we want to be out as fast as we possibly can – provided we’ve got the support of the ticket-buying public.”

While Galbraith is hopeful that “things [will] ease as we head into the spring”, he said that this projection would still come as “terrible, terrible news” for the sector.

“But I think that’s the reality that we have to face,” he added. “What we now need to do is everything we possibly can to get every single company and every single employee through that period of time.”

Tomorrow (September 30) a ‘Global Day of Action’ by workers from across the live music and entertainment sectors will take place in over 25 countries to mark the next step in the #WeMakeEvents industry campaign.

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