Prioritise Reopening Bars And Clubs Willing To Host Live Music

In a phased return to licensed premises opening, priority should be given to those bars, cafes and nightclubs that will commit to paid performances by professional musicians. Very few bars (or nightclubs, etc) host live music in the bar. Many have backrooms that can be pressed into service, or attached small venues, but few have background or foreground music provided by professional players in the main bar area. It's rare to find a bar with anything other than an open mic, a regular amateur performer, or an occasional pub band playing. We have an opportunity to encourage the return of quality music to Scotland's pubs and clubs. Those that will commit to nightly music in tabled, seated, distanced room should be given priority, so that we can support both the licensed trade and musician at the same time. This should happen only when it is safe and appropriate to allow licensed premises to open.

Why the contribution is important

The usual gig/concert setting for live music isn't coming back soon. A packed audience, whether small or large, isn't feasible in the current situation, nor in the foreseeable future. This means that musicians, one of the hardest hit sectors of the economy, will be among the last to return to work. But that can change with a return to performances in an "intimate club" setting. What was once a mainstay of a musician's work and income has over the years withered away, but it could return, and can play a central role in supporting the industry. Small audiences with separation are necessary if concerts and live music is to return and if we mandate it, it can. The musicians are available, their usual work isn't happening. The bars need atmosphere while they are deliberately half-empty. All it will take is for the government to tie allowing bars and clubs to open to them employing professional musicians to entertain their guests. Scotland has a world class music industry across several genres, leading the way in rock, electronic, and trad music, and excelling in many others. We should make a specific effort to ensure the people making that music are given the platform and resources they need. That means venues, audiences, and pay. That pay will seem like a sticking point, after all, adding that burden to already struggling licensees isn't obviously a solution. But cover charges are possible when maximum occupancy is being carefully monitored, and giving public money to support an industry we can be so proud of should be easy to do.

by ejb on May 05, 2020 at 09:20PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 1.2
Based on: 16 votes


  • Posted by MM1592 May 05, 2020 at 21:29

    Absolutely not, the government needs to focus on critical areas
  • Posted by JWatsDoune May 05, 2020 at 21:31

    While I feel for musicians, we couldn’t consider this until everyone is vaccinated :-(
  • Posted by Debrastorr May 05, 2020 at 22:10

    No. Sorry, no. But we do need to up the support to this sector, many of whom operate on a hand to mouth existence at best of times Anything that can be done to support the sector e.g, commissioning online gigs would help as well as direct support. Meanwhile buy music direct!
  • Posted by Jeannie May 05, 2020 at 22:39

    No sorry but pubs and clubs are just too dangerous to open
  • Posted by GKane May 05, 2020 at 23:31

    All of your comments are valid but also irrelevant to the current issues. Pubs stay closed, live music does not negate the risk of infection!
  • Posted by Lyzzy33 May 06, 2020 at 00:21

    Musicians have a key part in encouraging people back out into pubs and clubs when safer to do do, eventually it should be our choice as adults to decide if we want to go to a pub or club, life does need to return to our socialising at some time. It would be great if we could at least see new year in at our pubs snd clubs with a band safely. Pubs and clubs can adapt and respect social distancing and would rather change their layout to get open and back in business than the alternative of staying closed for a very long time.
  • Posted by mrsb May 06, 2020 at 01:33

    People aren't following social distance rules now in a supposedly strict lockdown, opening bars and clubs would just put us back to the beginning
  • Posted by margarett May 06, 2020 at 02:16

  • Posted by ejb May 06, 2020 at 09:24

    Looks like a lot of people didn't read this line: "This should happen only when it is safe and appropriate to allow licensed premises to open." Safe as in medically safe, appropriate as in prioritised against other competing needs and necessities.
  • Posted by Dwilliams21 May 08, 2020 at 16:11

    One of the last things we should do - difficult to social distance so too risky
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