Since the weekend of 11th July, live performances have been allowed to take place outside. The UK Government has also issued guidance on re-opening the performing arts. It is great that professionals can go back to work, but we also recognise the importance of amateur music making. Our own part of the music industry depends on musicians being able to work, but also on amateurs and hobbyists being allowed to make music. The recent guidance prohibits amateur groups or groups with amateur participants – unlike professionals – to play or sing together.
This article by our friends and partners at Making Music, the UK membership organisation for leisure-time music groups of all musical genres, explains what you can do to help bring back music groups in England.
The UK government has now issued guidance on reopening the performing arts.
The guidance prohibits amateur groups or groups with amateur participants – unlike professionals – to play or sing together, except in the numbers of people currently allowed to meet in public.
It goes further to say that singing and playing wind and brass instruments isn’t even allowed in those numbers.
The guidance (England only) will only be reviewed when the results of just commissioned research into droplet and aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are available. The devolved administrations are expected to issue similar guidance shortly (Wales: this week, Scotland: next two weeks, NI: n/a).
This is disappointing, as many of us were looking forward to meeting again, even with strict risk management measures, and were already hard at work creating a new normal, just as pubs, hairdressers and gyms are doing.
It is also surprising that there is no explanation why amateurs are being treated differently to professionals in this guidance.
What can you do?
Write to your MP
Ask the government to allow leisure-time music groups to be subject to the same rules as the professionals by writing to your MP.
In the devolved nations no guidance has yet been issued, so you may be able to influence what it looks like. Write to your MSP, MS or AM.
We have put together some statistics and arguments to help you write your own letter, which is more effective than using a standard template.
Join the campaign
Join the campaign: #BringBackMyChoir #BringBackMyBand and share this video on social media, in emails, on your websites.
You can also take a photo of yourself with the hashtag (see above!) and post it on social media, tagging your MP, MSP, MS, AM and Making Music.
An important note!
It is entirely up to you if you get involved. We hope we are giving you the right tools to make your voice heard, if you wish to do so.
Safety is paramount, for your group members, for the population. This campaign is not suggesting groups should get back together, if they don’t feel it is for them or when it isn’t safe.
But it is about:
- opening up that possibility for those who can and want to
- allowing you to risk assess your own group’s situation and taking decisions based on that, something you are all used to doing.