Reopening live music venues; what’s it going to look like?

“The ongoing triple threat facing the live music industry, and all mass gathering industries, requires government action,” said Patrick Rogers, Interim co-Chief Executive Officer. “This threat includes the medical concerns that Canadians have about the virus, that government restrictions on large gatherings will remain well into recovery, and that even after government restrictions are lifted, confidence in returning to live events will continue to be low.”

“Live music was one of the first sectors impacted by the pandemic, and it will continue to feel the impacts long after restrictions are lifted,” continued Rogers. “Artists, venues and support staff will require further support long after other elements of the economy have reopened.”

Teaming up with another survey on consumer attitudes, abacus data and Music Canada launched a survey that found that people are even more anxious about live music venues despite safety measures.

Safety measures include masks, reduced numbers, staggered arrival times, social distancing, and many more. These have an impact that makes people feel better about returning but overall their impact is minimal. Even after government restrictions are lifted about 1 in 2 self-described “live music lovers” feel it will be 6 months or more, after before they feel safe being in the audience of a live music event.

The question is what do the safety requirements for live music venues look like?

As of June 25th, 2020, the Province of Alberta has released guidelines for live performing arts during the pandemic. 

Besides the precautions that are taken by current businesses such as social distancing, masks, regular sanitization, screening volunteers and workers reduced numbers, There are several additional precautions for musicians and music venues including…

  • Ensuring all musicians, staff and attendees maintain two meters of social distance.
  • Avoid sharing of instruments, mics, and equipment.
  • Sanitize equipment, instrument, and surfaces between every use. 
  • Individuals exerting themselves more than normal should have more than two meters of social distance.
  • Activities that would normally require individuals to be in close proximity should be adapted or avoided to maintain physical distancing.
  • The maximum amount of those performing (including performers, instructors, and production team members) should not exceed 50.
  • The number of audience members permitted in the venue at one time (not including the performing group or venue staff) may not exceed 100 people.
  • Music, dance and theatrical performances by children are discouraged at this time unless it is possible to maintain the required physical distancing or cohorts.
  • Members of the performing group should not mingle with audience members, patrons, venue staff or volunteers during or after performances.

“As the pandemic continues, our research found that self-identified “live music lovers” now miss live music even more than they did in April. 90% of respondents in this group now say “I really miss going to concerts” – and 89% of this group agree that digital content will never replace the feeling of seeing live music,” explains Rogers.

“What we find interesting about what our research demonstrates is that live music is not going to just disappear. Canadians really miss the experience and want to come back, and we know they will return to venues and shows in time, and when they feel comfortable with others around them.”

For more information on Covid-19 Safety measures, please refer to Risk mitigation from and Alberta’s Live Performance Guidelines. 

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