Tuesday, 20 April 2021
Blossom Time - Music fans in Liverpool are to get the chance to enjoy a near-normal gig as part of a government pilot event. A crowd of 5,000 will see headline act Blossoms without having to social-distance or wear face coverings. But they will only get into the 2 May event by having a negative Covid test.
The outdoor concert at Sefton Park will operate below its capacity of 7,500. Ticket-holders will be required to take a lateral flow test, which can produce a result within 30 minutes, at a local testing centre before entry, the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport said. Attendees will also be asked to take a test after the concert - and will have to provide contact details to NHS Test and Trace to ensure they can be reached if someone who attended tests positive.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "We're one step closer to a summer of live events now our science-led programme is under way. Testing different settings and looking at different mitigations is key to getting crowds back safely. I hope it won't be too much longer until gigs are back for good."
Claire McColgan, director of Culture Liverpool, told the BBC that scientists would assess how attendees move and respond during the gig, and voluntary tests taken afterwards will be used to identify any infections that might arise. The stuff you see on stage is just a tiny, tiny part of it," she said. "It's loads of people's jobs - it's 60,000 jobs across our city region."
Giant Step - Entertainment giant WarnerMedia has given £250,000 to the Theatre Artists Fund, taking the total raised for the initiative to £7.2m. The media conglomerate, which owns brands including Warner Bros, HBO and CNN, is the latest of more than 3,000 individuals, foundations and businesses to donate to the fund, which provides grants to freelance theatre workers who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. It was set up last year by director Sam Mendes with the Society of London Theatre and UK Theatre, and has since distributed thousands of grants.
WarnerMedia’s EMEA president Priya Dogra said: “Many working in the theatre and cinema industry have been greatly affected by the pandemic and many challenges still remain. As we emerge from this past year it is vital that we continue to support our freelance colleagues who are most in need and ensure we continue to champion participation in the arts. We are proud to work alongside our industry colleagues to nurture and build a creative workforce which brings arts and culture to audiences across the UK.”
Breaching Rules - Organisers of an AJ Tracey gig, cancelled shortly before it was due to take place on Sunday in Manchester, have been fined £10,000 for breaching Covid rules. The rapper says he didn't expect so many people to turn up at Platt Fields Park, in the south of the city. The event was axed before he performed because so many people turned up.
In a statement, Greater Manchester Police say that at around 2.50pm on Sunday, they were called to reports of a large gathering at Platts Field Park. They told Newsbeat, "enquiries established that a music event was being held" and the organiser of the gathering was given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £10,000. Superintendent Caroline Hemingway said: "We are still very much in the midst of a public health crisis and it remains as important as ever to abide by the COVID-19 legislation."
London Calling - Underbelly has announced plans to launch a new festival in west London this summer. Located on the site of the former Earls Court 2 Exhibition Centre, the festival is called London Wonderground, the name of a former summer event run by Underbelly on the South Bank. The announcement follows the news that the entertainment and events company is planning the return of Underbelly Festival, which also previously ran on the South Bank but will now move to Oxford Circus.
London Wonderground is a partnership between Underbelly and owners of the site, Earls Court Development Company. Running from 15 July to 26 September, it will feature live shows, bars and street food, vintage rides, live music and a beach.
Farewell - Mike Mitchell, the musician best-known for his guitar solo on The Kingsmen's Louie Louie, has died aged 77. "He was the kindest and most generous man on the planet," the band said in a statement on their official website.
The Kingsmen were founded in Portland, Oregon in 1959, four years before they scored a global hit with their cover of Richard Berry's 1957 song Louie Louie. Instantly recognisable from the intro, the song spent six weeks at number two in the US and reached number 27 in the UK - thanks in part to the supposedly obscene lyrics that drew attention from the FBI.
20 April 2021