Frustration is building in the events industry that no live music events have yet been announced as part of the Government’s planned latest round of 20 Events Research Programme (ERP) pilot events.
The Government has announcement that Wimbledon Championship, British Grand Prix at Silverstone, UEFA Euro 2020 and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella theatre production will be among 20 forthcoming ERP pilot events but no live music or festivals have been designated part of the programme.
This weekend will see Donnington Park host 10,000 heavy metal fans for Festival Republic’s Download Pilot, but that event was organised prior to the announcement of the four-week delay to Step 4 of the reopening roadmap to 19 July, and the promised 20 further pilots.
Royal Albert Hall CEO Craig Hassall (pictured) told Times Radio he was “very, very deflated” by the four-week delay and the choice of ERP events: “We’ve offered the Hall to the Government several times but without any interest from their side,” he said. “A cynical person would say: ‘Isn’t it funny that the test events being mooted now are the Wimbledon final, a car race and probably a Cinderella production by Lloyd Webber?’”
Webber had promised he would open his theatres on 21 June regardless, and was willing to be arrested for it. He said he would only agree to Cinderella being a test event if it was part of a wider scheme for the whole industry, according to a report in The Times.
“I have made it very clear that I will not take part in any pilot scheme unless it is representative of theatre and live music as a whole,” he said. “However, if that is the case and the health people are insisting that they really need more pilots before they let us all re-open, I’ll take part but I reiterate I absolutely will not unless I am assured that Cinderella is part of a much wider scheme.”