Live music could return to Scotland from May

Capacity limits on venues and events will be discussed with industry leaders over the next few weeks

Music venues are among other establishments in Scotland that will be able to open after the coronavirus lockdown on a limited basis from May 17.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on Tuesday (March 16) announced a wide-ranging easing of restrictions that includes the reopening of concert halls, cinemas, theatres and comedy clubs in the middle of May.

Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament that capacity limits on venues and events would be discussed with industry leaders over the next few weeks, adding that she was “optimistic” about people being able to return to nightclubs “over the summer”.


Unlike Prime Minister Boris Johnson, however, the First Minister did not declare a provisional date for the ending of social distancing, which is set for June 21 in England.

Geoff Ellis, chief executive of DF Concerts, Scotland’s biggest concert promoter, told The Scotsman that he welcomes the news but needs more detailed plans.

“We can take some hope for the summer from a more positive and more detailed announcement from the First Minister,” he said, “but there is not enough there yet to finalise plans for early to mid-summer for live entertainment, which requires there to be no physical distancing to be viable.”

Glasgow-based promoter and nightclub owner Donald MacLeod also told the newspaper: “I’m slightly more encouraged than I have been after the First Minister’s announcements of late. Whether anyone can afford to open and trade viably under some pretty exacting restrictions remains to be seen.

“I’m encouraged events, gigs and nightclubs got a mention but it was all a bit vague. Unlike in England, there are no indicative dates of reopening without restrictions and no promise of financial support to help us survive over the summer.”


Other measures announced by Sturgeon is the reopening of museums and galleries from April 26, which is several weeks earlier than planned for England.

NME recently spoke to UK festival organisers about how British events may return this summer. Read here.

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