Indoor concerts to return from 1 August?

17 July 2020, 14:22 | Updated: 17 July 2020, 14:37

Could scenes like this be returning to the UK in August?
Could scenes like this be returning to the UK in August? Picture: Michael Verunica/EyeEm/Getty

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that if "pilot schemes" are successful, socially-distanced concerts could be back on.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that indoor live music performances will be able to return from 1 August - providing pilot schemes are successful. Trials are due to begin with larger gatherings such as sporting events.

Speaking today (17 July), Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden revealed: "I am pleased that we are making real progress in getting its doors reopened to the public with social distancing. From August indoor theatres, music venues and performance spaces will safely welcome audiences back across the country."

Ticket sales will be limited "to ensure social distancing can be maintained".

In a statement, the Music Venue Trust welcomed the move, but added a note of caution. "We have not received confirmation that any of these events have been authorised to take place in grassroots music venues as yet," they told Music Week. "So [we] would question whether August 1 is a realistic date for those pilot events to have taken place and to have informed the final guidance for venues."

However, the announcement has come too late for some venues - only yesterday, both Gorilla and The Deaf Institute in Manchester revealed that they will not re-open after being closed for five months.

The Prime Minister also outlined measures to allow people to return to work safely. He announced: "Instead of government telling people to work from home, we're going to give employers more discretion and ask them to make decisions about how their staff can work safely.

“That could mean, of course, continuing to work from home - which is one way of working safely and which has worked for many employers and employees - or it could mean making workplaces safe by following Covid-secure guidelines.

“Whatever employers decide they should consult closely with their employees, and only ask people to return to their place of work if it is safe."

Uncertainty over whether local lockdown measures could be implemented in the current months prompted promoters Live Nation to cancel a series of summer "Drive In" gigs this week. The city of Leicester has been in lockdown since 29 June following a spike in COVID-19 cases.