The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 4 May 2021
On Trial - A pilot concert in Liverpool on Sunday saw 5,000 people legally crammed into a small space for the first time since the start of the pandemic. The mini-festival, headlined by Blossoms, in Liverpool's Sefton Park was one of the government's official trial events to research how large gatherings can safely take place again.
All ticket holders had to take a supervised lateral flow test at one of four testing centres in the city the day before and were only allowed in if the test was negative. They were also strongly encouraged to take more sensitive PCR tests on the day of the show and to do so again five days later, on Friday. That will be crucial to working out whether there was any spread of the virus. It's all with the aim of working out how summer music festivals can go ahead after 21 June, when stage four of the government reopening roadmap will, in theory, see the end of restrictions on social contact.
Safety Net - Most of the music festivals still due to take place this year could be scrapped without the safety net of government-backed cancellation insurance, organisers have warned. A quarter of UK festivals have already been called off, but 76% of the rest are at risk, according to the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) which has called for "urgent intervention" to save the season.
The government said it was exploring what further support it could provide. The AIF said events had been scrapped because of "government inaction on insurance". It has been calling on the government to back cancellation insurance. That would allow organisers to go ahead with their plans without suffering financial losses if they were forced to cancel their events due to a new spike in COVID cases.
"For months now, we have been warning government that the UK's 2021 festival season would be quickly eroded if they failed to back their own roadmap out of lockdown and act on Covid related cancellation insurance," said Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) chief executive Paul Reed. "It's now red alert for the UK's festival season. By the end of this month, 76% of the remaining festivals planned for 2021 could very quickly disappear from the calendar. Without a safety net, independent promoters cannot begin to confidently invest in their events.”
Vote for Change - The organisers of the Grammy Awards have scrapped their anonymous voting committees following allegations of rigging, favouritism and racism. The Recording Academy said its voting members - which run into thousands - would instead select next year's nominations and winnersPerformers such as Zayn Malik and Halsey had claimed the selection process was unfair and lacked transparency. Artists of colour have long criticised the awards for a lack of diversity. Earlier this year, the Canadian singer The Weeknd accused the Grammy organisers of being corrupt after he was snubbed in this year's nominations, despite a hit single that spent a record-breaking 52 weeks in the US Top 10.
The Recording Academy, a not-for-profit organisation that represents music makers, said that the selection of nominees and winners was being "placed back in the hands of the entire voting membership body". It added that more than 90% of its members would go through a "requalification process" to ensure that the voting body "is actively engaged in music creation".
Old Gold - Sir Tom Jones has become the oldest man to top the UK album chart, after his new release Surrounded By Time went straight in at number one. The 80-year-old Welshman has overtaken Bob Dylan, who topped the chart last June aged 79 with Rough and Rowdy Ways. The late Dame Vera Lynn holds the overall record after her 2009 greatest hits collection went to number one when the Forces' Sweetheart was 92. "I am thrilled beyond words," Sir Tom told the Official Charts Company.
(Jim Evans)
4 May 2021

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