Live music industry calls for UK reopening after ‘reassuring’ pilot results

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Only 28 cases of COVID have been detected in rallies involving 58,000 people, but low use of PCR tests means data must be treated with “extreme caution”

The UK live music industry is demanding the reopening of in-person events, following “reassuring results” from the coronavirus pilot events which took place between April 17 and May 15. The calls follow news shared yesterday (June 25) that only 28 cases were detected after the rallies, which involved a total of 58,000 people.

The new data comes from scientists behind the Events Research Program (ERP), which aimed to test the spread of the virus at nine separate events, such as the 2021 Brit Awards, and sporting events such as the final of the FA Cup and the World Snooker Championships.

Other rallies involved in the lawsuit include the Maskless Club Night Liverpool (which recorded 10 cases among around 7,000 attendees) and a 7,100-seat open-air festival in the city’s Sefton Park, where only two cases have been recorded. Overall, “no major or uncontrolled epidemics” were detected.

However, the ERP researchers stressed that the results should be treated with “extreme caution” as only 15% of participants tested themselves as required after the events. The low use of PCR tests (which detects the virus very early) makes it “difficult to determine” the true extent of COVID transmission.

Greg Parmley, CEO of Live, the UK’s body for the live music industry, says the organization is delighted that the government has released some of its ERP data, but criticizes the fact that it took legal action live music and theater industries to make information public.

“We are pleased that there has been no outbreak of COVID associated with any of the detected pilots, either through testing or a general increase in incidence in the community,” he adds. . “It’s also nice to see that the air quality at indoor events was, in almost all cases, the same or better than being in an office on a short working day.”

“It is completely unfair that our industry finds itself stuck in seemingly endless rounds of searches before it can open, when no such search is done for other places, such as restaurants, stores or public transport. “

“With reasonable mitigation measures, including simple COVID certification, there is no reason we can’t reopen on July 19.”

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), adds: “Following this positive result, we now need clear guidance from the government on the exact expectations of festivals regarding testing regimes and other protocols for this. summer. We are actively working with the government on this. For festivals still planning, this clearly isn’t a conversation that can wait until July 19.

Sacha Lord, the overnight economics adviser for Greater Manchester, also renewed his demands for a government insurance scheme following the release of the new data, writing in a tweet: “You have artists and freelancers who have had no income since March 2020. Huge supply chain on the verge of bankruptcy. Time is running out. Act now. “

Last month, MPs joined earlier calls by festival organizers for a compensation scheme to provide a safety net for live events and avoid another ‘wasted’ for music festivals (including many have already had to cancel for the second year in a row).

Earlier this week, Dazed spoke to some of the 10,000 people who attended the Maskless, Social Distancing Download Festival pilot event which ran from June 18-20. “It was initially surreal to be surrounded by so many people, but soon COVID felt like a distant memory,” one participant said, adding that the low transmission numbers from previous events had helped eradicate everything stress.

Find out more about the attendees of the UK’s first post-containment festival here.

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