Music Venue Trust statement: A response to the UK Government's plans to end the lockdown23 November 2020 - Press release
While Music Venue Trust welcomes the end of the national lockdown and the very welcome end of the 10pm curfew, the proposed tier system of restrictions contains a very specific challenge to grassroots music venues.
We encourage the Government to think again on the issue of alcohol sales at permitted ticketed events within the new Tier 2 proposals. Under these restrictions grassroots music venues are technically permitted to deliver live music events. However, the government has announced that alcohol will only be able to be consumed if it is accompanied by 'a substantial meal'.
Music Venue Trust has repeatedly detailed to the government that income within the grassroots sector derives 65% from wet sales and 35% from ticket sales. It is therefore not possible to deliver an economically viable event in this sector without the financial support provided by alcohol sales. In addition, 92% of grassroots music venues do not have the necessary facilities to provide substantial food.
We applaud the government's intention to allow live music to resume where it can be safely delivered but we believe that this ambition can be delivered within the guidelines by identifying the purchase of a ticket as having equivalent intention by the consumer to the purchase of a meal.
The consumption of food and the consumption of culture as the main purpose of an individual's behaviour could, and should, be treated equally.
Failure to reach equivalency between food and culture on this issue results in a distorted market where an individual can choose to attend a restaurant, consuming as much alcohol as they wish prior to a gig, but upon arrival at the event cannot consume any alcohol at all.
We believe therefore that common sense within the restrictions is the most likely route by which the public will understand and comply with them.
We strongly encourage the government to think again on the specifics of Tier 2 restrictions in relation to ticketed cultural events.