MU calls on on local authorities to support open air music performance

The MU is calling on the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities & Local Government and local authorities to encourage the generation of local culture through live music, whilst respecting safe distancing in keeping with the latest government guidelines.

With the UK government easing lockdown, and as people increasingly populate outdoor spaces while maintaining social distancing, musicians see an opportunity to get back to what they do best.

The union believes that outdoor performances could be the first step back towards a cultural offering in communities across the UK. This would both assist the union’s members and the public, as research has shown that access to arts and culture is a catalyst for general wellbeing and good mental health.

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the whole of UK society. It has been a catastrophic blow for all industries and all walks of life. Due to the government restrictions put in place on March 23, the performing arts sector has completely closed down and will struggle to reopen with social distancing measures in place.

This has left musicians with no work and members of the public with no access to live performance. Music venues, arts centres and theatres closed overnight, leaving a gaping hole not only in the local economy but also in the cultural eco system.

MU deputy general secretary Naomi Pohl said: “We are asking that local authorities relax any restrictions that may be in place around live performance in public spaces in their area. For example, open up bandstands and ensure busking can take place freely in town centres, parks, car parks and on piers and beaches.

“At the same time, we will continue to issue guidelines to our members around the maintenance of social distancing measures. We can encourage musicians to perform for no more than thirty minutes in one location, to stay local where possible and to put up signage about social distancing.

“With the appropriate management and co-operation, people will be able to enjoy live music for the remainder of the summer. We understand that authorities may have concerns around public health and how social distancing may be enforced. We stand ready to engage and assist with those discussions, to listen to any concerns and to work in partnership to revive local culture safely for all involved.”

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