The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 6 July 2021
Insurance Scheme - UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden indicated last week that the government will step in to support the theatre sector with a government-backed insurance scheme after 19 July.
Dowden told the House of Commons earlier this week that the government was likely to provide an insurance scheme should commercial providers be unable to offer any to the theatre sector. He was quizzed on the issue by shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens, who asked Dowden why no insurance scheme had been presented despite an announcement to MPs in March that a decision on such an initiative was with the Treasury at the time.
“I very much understand the industry’s desire for insurance and I have engaged with them. I have said all along, as with film and TV insurance, the first step is to get all the other restrictions removed and we are making very good progress towards doing that on the 19th,” he said. “At that point, if it is the case there is a market failure, namely that commercial insurance providers cannot insure for that, we will look at whether we can extend insurance with some sort of government-backed scheme and we are engaging extensively wth the Treasury and other government departments to see what that might look like.”
Stevens also asked Dowden how festivals and other live events could prepare to reopen from July 19, when no guidance had been published for them to follow. Dowden said the government was making “good progress” towards a full reopening on 19 July 19 and that the final decision on whether that could happen would be communicated on 12 July. He told the House of Commons he was “confident we will be able to remove all remaining legal limits on social contact” by 19 July.
Edinburgh Rocks - Producers and venues in Edinburgh have been awarded £1.3m to support the return of live events at the city’s festivals. The Scottish government has contributed £1m, with City of Edinburgh Council providing a further £300,000 to help create outdoor performance spaces and offset additional costs faced by producers due to the pandemic. The funding has been distributed between the Edinburgh International Festival and nine fringe producers.
Edinburgh International Festival will use its £300,000 grant towards the cost of three outdoor venues. The fringe producers that have received funding are Gilded Balloon, Zoo, Traverse Theatre, Dance Base, Pleasance, Summerhall, SpaceUK, Assembly and Underbelly.
Scottish culture secretary Angus Robertson said: "Edinburgh’s festivals are a highlight on the international cultural calendar and were sorely missed last summer. I am determined to do everything within my power to support the return of these globally significant events and the benefits they bring to Scotland in terms of tourism and trade."
Gold Standard - Abba's greatest hits compilation Gold has become the first record to spend 1,000 weeks in the UK's album chart. Released in 1992, the record is the second biggest-seller of all time in the UK with sales of 5.61m, only behind Queen's Greatest Hits. Featuring the Swedish band's biggest songs Dancing Queen, Mamma Mia! and Waterloo, it has now spent a total of 19 years and 12 weeks in the top 100. "Not bad for four old turnips," joked Benny Andersson on hearing the news.
Royal Selection - The Prince of Wales has revealed a selection of his favourite tracks, including Givin' Up, Givin' In by The Three Degrees which he says used to give him "an irresistible urge to get up and dance". Speaking on a pre-recorded hospital radio show aired at noon yesterday, dedicated to volunteers of the Hospital Broadcasting Association, Prince Charles said the American soul music trio performed the '70s hit at his 30th birthday. Other tracks on his 13-strong list include La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, Upside Down by Diana Ross and Don't Rain On My Parade by Barbra Streisand.
Heavy Rock - Metal fans will have another wall of sound heading their way this summer after it was confirmed Brian Blessed will be making an appearance at Bloodstock. The actor/showman - famous for bellowing "Gordon's Alive!" in cult film Flash Gordon - will appear at the Derbyshire event on Sunday 15 August. Blessed will appear on the same day as heavy metal veterans Judas Priest and Saxon. Announcing the actor's appearance, Bloodstock's organisers say they "may ask him to do some awesome things".
(Jim Evans)
6 July 2021

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