The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
One Night Stand - Around 5,000 people spent Saturday night at a gig in Barcelona after receiving negative results in same-day Covid testing. Spanish authorities let the concert, featuring band Love of Lesbian, go ahead as part of a pilot. Fans took a test earlier in the day and did not have to keep physically apart but they still wore masks.
It is one of the largest gatherings in Europe in more than a year since the pandemic began. "This is for one night only, so enjoy it," one of the hosts said before the concert started at Saint Jordi Arena. The gig was held as part of a research project looking at the viability of holding Covid-secure mass events following rapid-testing of guests. It follows a similar experiment in the Netherlands last week, when fans attended a two-day music festival after showing proof of a negative Covid test.
In Barcelona, ticket-holders were only permitted to enter the stadium once a negative result code was sent to their phones. Temperatures and IDs were checked at the door. Staff from a local hospital and event promoters teamed up to carry out rapid testing in booths within tents at three local venues. "We expect it to be completely safe. Over the next 14 days we will look at how many of the audience test positive for Covid and will report back," doctor Josep Maria Llibre told AFP.
Peer Pressure - House of Lords peers have urged the government to negotiate a solution for UK creatives working in Europe, warning that current restrictions are putting the sector’s future at risk. In an inquiry report into the future of UK-EU trade in services, the Lords’ EU services sub-committee called on the government to reduce barriers for services across the economy, including the creative industries.
The committee said it was "deeply concerned" about the impact the current restrictions will have on the UK’s creative workforce, arguing the new rules "could make touring prohibitively bureaucratic and expensive".
The government’s post-Brexit trade agreement makes it difficult for artists, crews and other creative professionals to work and tour in the EU, the report says, as they face increased paperwork and unsustainable additional costs.
"The Covid-19 pandemic means these problems are hidden for now, but these mobility restrictions put the sector’s recovery at risk. We urge the government to negotiate, as a matter of urgency, a bilateral and reciprocal agreement to make mobility arrangements for touring performers, creative teams and crews," the report says.
It agrees with calls from the Incorporated Society of Musicians that the UK government should enter into discussions with EU member states that are particularly problematic to seek work-permit exemptions. These include Spain, Italy, Belgium and Portugal, it says.
Major Donation - Cameron Mackintosh has donated £500,000 to the Theatre Artists Fund from his foundation, as he warned any further shutdowns to theatre would be “catastrophic”. The fund, created last July by Sam Mendes, the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, provides support to freelancers in the sector, many of whom have not had any support from the government during the pandemic. It follows a donation he made to the fund last year, with his foundation now donating more than £1 million to theatrical charities.
Mackintosh said: “Though the government’s exemplary vaccine programme has shown there is now light at the end of the tunnel, the probability is that it will still be more than seven months before the West End has the majority of its major shows open. This latest grant from my foundation, a year after our industry was closed down, will hopefully help some of our hard-hit freelancers to get through until we can employ them again, provided there are no further shutdowns, which would be catastrophic.”
“The resilience and spirit of everyone working in the theatre during this gruelling time has been quite inspirational, as has the amazing patience and enthusiastic support of the public who continue to book seats, demonstrating that they can’t wait to come back to live theatre as soon as they can.” Mendes said he was “immensely grateful” to the Mackintosh Foundation for the contribution.
Dance On - East London Dance has revealed details of a new £4.1m creative hub in Stratford that includes two dance studios and five music production studios. The Talent House on Stratford’s Sugar House Island will bring East London Dance and London-based organisation UD, which champions black music culture, together under one roof.
Located in a former warehouse with a modern extension, the purpose-built Talent House will span three floors. It will be a permanent home for East London Dance – which offers performances, events, classes and projects to different age groups – and UD. The premises will provide facilities for young people and local communities.
Dream On - Mick Fleetwood has revealed he hopes every living past and current member of Fleetwood Mac will perform together the next time the band tour. The drummer said it is his "English pipe dream" that "everyone who's ever played in Fleetwood Mac would be welcome" when the rock group take to the stage again. Peter Green, who formed Fleetwood Mac with Fleetwood in 1967, died in July aged 73; guitarist Danny Kirwan who was with the band between 1968 and 1972 died in 2018.
Fleetwood has been an ever-present member of Fleetwood Mac, along with John McVie who joined shortly after the band was formed. Green left the group in 1970 as he struggled with mental health problems, before they became one of the biggest-selling acts in rock with a different line-up having switched from blues to pop.
Asked who will be in Fleetwood Mac the next time the band tours, Fleetwood told the LA Times, "I hope the whole f****** lot of them! I'm not done. And if I can get John McVie off his boat, he's not done either!”
(Jim Evans)
30 March 2021

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