- A sharp rise in Covid-19 cases means large-scale music events won't happen until July 19th at the earliest.
UK prime minister Boris Johnson has extended the current lockdown in England by four weeks.
Delivered earlier today, June 14th, in a press conference, the news means clubs, venues and festivals won't reopen until earliest July 19th. This is due to a recent spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the infectious Delta variant. The initial date set for the final lifting of restrictions, AKA "freedom day," was next Monday, June 21st.
"This obviously really hurts all venues in London and across the UK [that] have been working so hard to put in place plans that would mean [a] safe event environment for everyone," Nathanael Williams, director of London club Colour Factory, told Resident Advisor. "At the same time it's understandable that we must be driven by making sure that the changes are truly irreversible."
Rumours of a delay have been circulating for several weeks as case numbers have steadily increased. Speaking to The Independent in a piece published earlier today, a BBC reporter estimated that 5,000 concerts may have to cancel as a result and many of the remaining clubs could close for good.
"We're drained financially and mentally," Nottingham venue owner and promoter Lukas Wigflex told RA. "Our venue has just about managed to last this long but now with no clear end in sight or confidence that any announced dates will actually be carried through with, it's hard to see what our road to recovery / normality is actually going to look like."
Up in Manchester, Anton Stevens and the rest of the team at Hidden have used the months of downtime to refurbish the venue.
"We've been flat out to make sure the venue is the best it can be on reopening and have had quite a bit of structural work done to open up the space in the venue," he told RA. "We've added more air conditioning units, toilets and washrooms. We've hired and trained new staff, a new security company and agreed plans for stock."
He added: "There's obviously a cost for all of this work which was needed to reopen safely and we're not going to see any return on that investment for an extended period, with no mention of another support package. We've been closed since last March, so this is the last thing we need really."
Photo credit: Tom Andrew