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Live music industry experts respond to UK government with alternative five-stage plan for return of live music

The Culture Secretary unveiled a roadmap for returning to normality last week

Live music industry experts from the Music Venues Trust (MVT) have responded to the UK government's five-stage plan for the return of live music.

Last week, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden announced a five-stage plan after a meeting with the cultural taskforce, breaking down the five steps all venues and live event spaces must take to return to normal amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Now, experts from the MVT have hit back at the government's plans, after delivering the stark warning in recent weeks that a £50million cash injection would be required to save event spaces. They urged the UK government to deliver the funds and not to allow venues to reopen with social distancing guidelines, telling MPs that this would end the Grassroots Music Venues sector. The first two steps in Dowden's plan allow first rehearsals and training, before moving onto performance for broadcast and recording purposes. The final parts of the five-stage plan include outdoor performances with audiences, before the trial run of socially distanced audiences inside, and subsequently the final stage: a return to "normal".

The MVT's alternative five-stage plan can be seen below.

  • Step 1: Create the sector support financial package that is immediately required so that any sort of grassroots music venue sector survives to require any more steps at all
  • Step 2: Check if you have completed step 1. If not, keep checking until you have
  • Step 3: Get out of the way of one of the most dynamic and innovative creative industries in the world and let them get on with it
  • Step 4: Continue to receive massive social cultural and economic benefits for decades to come because you got Step 1 right
  • Step 5: Realise this doesn’t need 5 steps, it only needs step 1

It's been three months since prime minister Boris Johnson officially ordered a list of venues, which included clubs, pubs, bars, food and drink venues, theatres, and concert halls, to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UK's communities secretary, Robert Jenrick, initially said that the restriction would be in place for 14 days before review, and venues have been remained shuttered since.

In May, the UKs Music Venue Trust’s #SaveOurScene campaign was launched with the intention of raising funds and highlighting the challenges faced by small music venues and clubs amid the coronavirus lockdown.