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Removal of Covid-19 restrictions in England means a welcome return for gigs and festivals

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(Image credit: Avalon/PYMCA/Gonzales Photo/Nikolaj Bransholm/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Live gigs and festivals will return in full force in England from July 19 as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of Covid-19 restrictions in the country.

While warning that the dangers posed by coronavirus are not a thing of the past, and insisting that life can not yet return to ‘normal’, Johnson’s press conference in London today (July 12) paves the way for the return of live gigs and large-scale festivals. 

The Music Venue Trust has welcomed the news, while emphasising that there is “a great deal more work to do.”

The organisation’s statement reads:

“The Government has announced that the long awaited news we have all been working for is finally here:

English Grassroots Music Venues will be able to reopen at full capacity from 19 July and restore live music to our communities in England.

This is obviously extremely welcome news for millions of music fans, for artists, crew, venues and local communities who have been deprived of live music and work for so long.

Since March 2020, Music Venue Trust’s aim has been to Reopen Every Venue Safely. We have been working alongside the Grassroots Music Venue sector throughout this crisis to identify methods by which we can achieve that, regardless of any government guidelines or limitations or restrictions. The keyword for us and the sector throughout these long difficult months has been ‘safely’.

This announcement is hugely important and provides the opportunity to Revive Live music. It does not, however, change the central mission or the importance of the word ‘safely’.

Music Venue Trust will be re-energising our efforts to work with our fantastic network of Grassroots Music Venues in the Music Venues Alliance to ensure that each of them is able to deliver events to the public from 19 July which meet the highest standards of Covid security and safety.

There is a great deal more work to do to Reopen Every Venue Safely. But sometime soon we can finally imagine that we can announce just one last hashtag to describe this crisis. And because of all of you, because of the incredible support you have given, the letters, the time, the donations, that hashtag will feature just three words: # Saved Our Venues.”

Johnson’s announcement comes too late for Ramblin’ Man Fair, which was due to be held this forthcoming weekend, July 16-18, but will ensure that Bloodstock festival, Reading and Leeds, and more can proceed as planned.