Why 2020 Is A Write-Off For Gigs And Festivals


Why 2020 Is A Write-Off For Gigs And Festivals

Concerts and festivals will not go ahead in the UK until at least next year, a top virologist and music boss are warning.

Many major music, film and comedy events, like Glastonbury, Eurovision, Cannes and Edinburgh Fringe, have already been scrapped, postponed or moved online due to Covid-19 concerns.

But others, including Reading and Leeds, the BFI London Film Festival, and a multitude of gigs and rescheduled tours, remain in the 2020 diary.

Dr Chris Smith believes it is “too optimistic” to think such social gatherings will take place.

“We won’t even have got a vaccine into people by then,” the Cambridge University lecturer tells the BBC.

“The government has cost the country billions to get the transmission rate right down, and we know that a very good catalyst for spreading the thing and amplifying cases is getting loads of people together again, and that’s exactly what goes on at concerts, matches, and other kinds of parties.

“So I can’t see them saying, ‘You know what, we think everyone needs a party’ – it’s too soon.”

Several UK promoters and venues still hoping to host events in some form told us they were unable to detail their post-lockdown plans yet, as they were waiting to take their lead from the government as to how and when they might safely proceed.

This weekend, Downing Street officials are expected to reveal plans to re-start the economy in stages, after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced last week that the UK was past the peak of the outbreak.

The saving grace of when we might get to see our favourite artists in action again is unlikely to be high on their agenda, but a government spokeswoman told the BBC on Monday that it recognised these are “incredibly challenging times for art and entertainment venues”.

“We are supporting the sector through the substantial financial measures the government has announced and are continuing to work together to plan for the future,” she said.

“As soon as it is safe to do so, we will be encouraging everyone to visit and experience the UK’s fantastic cultural offerings again.”


Dr Smith, who also hosts the Naked Scientists podcast, is confident we will ultimately return to enjoying such collective experiences – as they “appeal to the human nature” – but only after most people in the country have either been infected with the disease (herd immunity), or inoculated (vaccines or combinations of drugs) in some way.

In “the near-term”, he says, “it’s just not going to happen.”

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“I think this year is basically a write-off, if I’m honest with you,” he adds.

These sobering sentiments were echoed again by former Creation Records and current Creation23 label supremo Alan McGee on Boogaloo Radio on Monday, who said the government “are never going to allow 200 people to congregate [this year].”

“Also nobody is going to want to go to a show at the moment,” he went on.

Why 2020 Is A Write-Off For Gigs And Festivals


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