The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 25 August 2020
Risk Research - Scientists in Germany held three pop concerts in a single day to investigate the risks posed by mass indoor events during the pandemic. About 1,500 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 - only a third of the expected number - took part. But the head of the study, which was carried out in Leipzig by Halle University, said he was "very satisfied" with how the event unfolded. Singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko agreed to perform at all three successive gigs.
The concert study, called Restart-19, was created "to investigate the conditions under which such events can be carried out despite the pandemic", researchers said. The first of Saturday's three concerts aimed to simulate an event before the pandemic, with no safety measures in place. The second involved greater hygiene and some social distancing, while the third involved half the numbers and each person standing 1.5m apart. All participants were tested for Covid-19 before taking part, and given face masks and tracking devices to measure their distancing. Researchers reportedly also used fluorescent disinfectants to track which surfaces audience members touched the most.
"The data collection is going very well, so we have good quality data, the mood is great and we are extremely satisfied with the discipline in wearing masks and using disinfectant," lead researcher Dr Stefan Moritz said.
Emergency Funding - Small music venues in England have welcomed the announcement of a further £1.1m emergency government funding. Last month, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden rolled out his plan for a £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund, including £2.25m for music venues. That has now increased to £3.36m due to high demand. The fund will be split between 135 grassroots venues.
Recipients include The Troubadour in London, where Adele and Ed Sheeran performed early on; and The Jacaranda in Liverpool. The grants range from £1,000 to £80,000, with the average working out at £25,000 per venue.
"We warmly welcome this first distribution from the Culture Recovery Fund which will ensure that the short-term future of these venues is secured while we continue to work on how we can ensure their long-term sustainability," said Mark Davyd of the Music Venue Trust. He said the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport together with Arts Council England had "worked very quickly to fully understand the imminent risk of permanent closure faced by a significant number of grassroots music venues across the country". The funding "creates a real breathing space for under pressure venues", he added.
End Of The Pier Show - A theatre on a Grade II-listed pier is due to put on its first show since coronavirus forced it to close. The layout of Cromer Pier's Pavilion Theatre in Norfolk has been redesigned to adhere to social distancing, with capacity reduced from 460 to 100. The variety show is instead of the theatre's usual summer production. Musical director Nigel Hogg said the "show must go on" as they look to provide "much needed employment" to those in the industry. Openwide, which manages the theatre, has donated the space and the profit is being split by the staff and performers - magicians, impressionists, singers and comedians who would usually be working on cruise ships or doing summer seasons.
Winding Down - A company that has been creating sets and props for theatre and film for 35 years has been forced to shut down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 3D Creations, which has made the sets for the past four Palladium pantomimes and supplied props to TV shows including Game of Thrones, is winding down operations after losing all of the business it had planned for this year.
Managing director Ian Westbrook said 2020 had been due to be one of his most successful periods yet, but the pandemic led him to take the decision to close the company now to avoid going bankrupt. While Westbrook is closing the set and props-making business, he intends to keep 3D Creations going as a smaller-scale business, offering a design service for theatres, as well as corporate work and illustration.
More than 350 of 3D Creations’ items, including props, pieces of set, backgrounds and industrial machinery are now going up for auction. The online auction is open until 27 August, run by auctioneers GJ Wisdom and Co.
(Jim Evans)
25 August 2020

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