2020 in review: July

Early in July, the UK’s arts sector welcomed the announcement of the £1.57bn government aid, and later in the month unlocked the first tranche of funding to save around 150 grassroots music venues from insolvency.

The UK also went through a rollercoaster of announcements after Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said outdoor concerts and performances would be allowed in England with social distancing measures in place.

Later in July, it was announced that theatres and music venues in England could open their doors to socially distanced audiences from August 1. However, many in the sector criticised the plan, stating that until performances were allowed indoors and outdoors with “fuller audiences”, theatres and music venues would not be able to survive financially.

On the last day of the month, the day before the planned reopening, the UK government postponed the restart of socially distanced indoor theatre and music events due to a spike of COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, the UK’s first purpose-built socially distanced venue was unveiled in July. The 2,500-capacity Virgin Money Unity Arena in Newcastle, run by SSD Concerts, provided fans with access to their own personal dance/viewing platform, complete with a table, chairs and personal fridge.

Elsewhere, more than 4,000 concertgoers in Germany were enlisted to take part in a coronavirus experiment to understand how the virus could be prevented from spreading at large indoor concerts.

StubHub announced it would be closing or scaling back its offices in the Asia Pacific and Latin American regions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Elsewhere in July, the Colombian Football Federation (FCF) was fined $4.6m for illicitly reselling 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets at inflated prices. Later in the month, the Colombian sports ministry called for a further investigation into the officials fined.