Boris Johnson signals return for some “socially distanced” live music events in August

"We will restart indoor performances to a live audience subject to the success of pilots"

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has signalled the return of some “socially distanced” live music events this August in a new press conference.

Under the proposed plans, from August 1, socially distanced audiences are able to return for indoor performances in theatres, music halls and other venues.

From October, Johnson said “audiences in stadia”, conferences and other events would also be able to restart, subject to successful pilots around the UK.


The PM warned, however, “the timetable” was “conditional,” adding “we will not proceed if doing so risks a second peak.”

Johnson continued: “We will restart indoor performances to a live audience subject to the success of pilots. We will also pilot larger gatherings in venues like sports stadia with a view to a wider re-opening in the autumn.”

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden later added: “From 1 October, if it’s safe to do so, fans will be able to return to stadiums and competition venues with social distancing.

“We’ll be running pilot events over the summer at the Snooker World Champs, Goodwod and in County Cricket – with more to follow.”


The news comes at a critical time for the music industry after venues in Hull and Manchester announced their closure yesterday (July 16) through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In Hull, The Welly and The Polar Bear music venues announced their closure, along with ticketing outlet, Hull Box Office. Soon after, Manchester’s Gorilla and the Deaf Institute also announced their closure.

Earlier this month, the government stepped in with a cash injection to help the arts, culture and heritage industries “weather the impact of coronavirus” – providing music venues, independent cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres and heritage sites with emergency grants and loans.

It followed extensive campaigning from more than 1,500 artists and industry figures who came together to call on the government to stop “catastrophic damage” to live music as part of the #LetTheMusicPlay campaign.

Meanwhile, the co-founder of Lollapalooza festival believes that live music won’t fully return until 2022.

When asked about when he thought live music would return, Geiger said: “In my humble opinion, it’s going to be 2022.”

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