The virus has turned the music world upside down.

One of the main victims has been the grass roots music circuit. 700 UK venues have been left in limbo with an uncertain future. We spoke to Mark Davyd from the Music Venue Trust about the situation. In the interview filmed below and on YouTube he came up with these 10 key points…

  1. Although there are no certainties and information changes all the time a carefully managed return to live music could be possible this year.
  2. Many venues are struggling and the Music Venue Trust is working on schemes to keep the worst off afloat and also a campaign to deal with rents.
  3. Gigs could start laster this year but they will be very different.
  4. Maybe initially with 20 people observing social distancing watching a band doing the same.
  5. Standards of cleanliness will have to be rigorous – rubber gloves for bar staff, venues cleaned down and an understanding of a new etiquette but ‘if you get 50 people in a supermarket why can’t you have 50 in a venue…’
  6. We both agreed that face masks will become the must have 2020 fashion item – a bit like wellington boots have because of festivals.
  7. Ironically it may be easier to get the grass roots venue circuit up and running before festivals in terms of safety.
  8. Big bands who cant play festivals should do several night runs at grass roots venues to keep the venues going and pay them back for their support when they started.
  9. There is no timetable for this and there are many variables but it needs to happen as physical and mental health problems caused by the lockdown could be as bad as the virus in the long run.
  10. This will need proper planning and could only happen once infection rate is below one per cent or so.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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