Outdoor gigs and arts performances will be able to resume from this Saturday (July 11), providing they have a “limited and socially distanced audience.”
In addition, a number of small indoor “test events” will also take place in order to help plan the future reopening of venues. They include a performance by the London Symphony Orchestra at St. Luke’s Church, performances at the London Palladium and at Butlin’s holiday parks.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said during a televised Downing Street briefing today (July 9) that the move is “an important milestone for our performing artists, who have been waiting patiently in the wings since March”.
He added: “Of course we won’t see crowds flooding into their venues, but from July 11 our theatres, operas, dance and music shows can start putting on outdoor performances to socially distant audiences.
“That means theatregoers can experience a live play for the first time in months at places like the stunning Minack Theatre in Cornwall, and music lovers can attend Glyndebourne this summer.”
Capacities for outdoor venues will be reduced in order to accommodate social distancing measures, and the will be asked to use electronic ticketing and keep a record of visitor details in case they are needed by the track and trace system.
The announcement comes as The Association Of Independent Festivals called upon the government for “urgent clarity” as to whether festivals will benefit from a £1.57billion arts bailout announced last week.
The AIF have told NME that they have been unable to get reassurance that festivals will be allowed this money, fearing that they may have been “left outside the tent”.
Having contributed around £1.75 billion in Gross Value Added to the UK economy annually and supporting 85,000 jobs across the country, around 92 per cent of festival businesses are at risk of collapse and have called for government support to “make it to next year without being wiped out”.