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UK grassroots music venues welcome the return of fans

Grassroots music venues in England will present more than 5,000 shows from yesterday’s reopening date through to June 21, as the country lifts some COVID-19 restrictions on live events.

Yesterday (Monday), marked phase three of the UK’s roadmap out of lockdown, allowing “performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number).”

The change in restrictions has paved the way for many venues that have remained shuttered since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Fans will be required to keep a distance with lowered capacities, while the removal of distancing mandates is slated for phase four, which is scheduled to begin June 21.

Music Venue Trust, a charity that helps protect, secure and improve music venues in the UK, has reported that over 200 grassroots venues are putting on concerts this week, including Liverpool’s Cavern Club and Bristol’s Crofters Rights.

The MVT said: “After 15 long, difficult months, today is the day the Grassroots Music Venues across the country can finally begin the challenging journey back to bringing you the live music we all love.”

The charity has also created a virtual map guide to all the events happening across the UK.

According to a survey earlier this month from MVT, over 28,500 shows are booked to take place in England’s grassroots music venues this summer.

As part of its Revive Live campaign, MVT has worked closely with Music Venues Alliance members to establish and share best practice. The set of tools aims to help venues ensure they are Covid-secure as well as to reassure audiences, artists and their own teams that they can return to enjoying live music with confidence.

Music Venue Trust has been working since March 2020 to raise millions of pounds to save many grassroots venues from closure due to the lack of live events. Through its Save Our Venues campaign, it has managed to get 35 venues removed from its Red List out of a possible 42, with many individual Crowdfunders recently surpassing fundraising targets.

In addition to live music, West End theatre performances have kicked off again with the world’s longest running play The Mousetrap being among the first to reopen for business at the St Martin’s Theatre from yesterday. Cruise will play at the Duchess Theatre from today, while Shakespeare’s Globe is returning with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream from May 19.

As with live music venues, performances will be socially distanced until at least June 21.

Following the news of reopening, London’s The O2 announced full-capacity reopening plans with a series of ‘Welcome Back’ events to kick off in August.