Musicians need clarity on return date - Derry MLA warns

SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan has called for urgent clarity for the return of live music at venues across the North.

Friday, 7th May 2021, 1:01 pm
The sound of silence.... concert venues across the north west lie empty in what has been a dififuclt year for people in the music industry. Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Mr Durkan says he shares the frustration of musicians and performers, who have been, he said, “all but forgotten about” amid the latest review of restrictions.

The Foyle MLA commented: “It needs to be acknowledged that musicians have been poorly treated throughout the pandemic; they were the first industry hit and the last to receive support.

“Even before the Executive had an opportunity to react to the pandemic, musicians and performers have had to contend with gigs being cancelled and felt the pinch on their purses relatively early on.

Foyle SDLP MLA Mark H Durkan.

“Yet despite this, the Executive’s tin-eared approach to the sector means that much needed answers area yet to be provided on live music.

“The absence of clarity has caused much confusion as has the different approach which has been taken in England, which currently permits pubs with beer gardens to host live music.”

Mr Durkan said other people are also waiting for clarity.

“I have been contacted not just by musicians desperate for updates on their livelihood but from couples due to wed, eager to know whether musical entertainment can proceed on their big day.

“It is vital that musicians are given an indicative date to allow them preparation time to manage their bookings. But even more importantly, as we move towards the summer period and what is essentially wedding season, a lucrative period within any musician’s calendar.

“I have raised these concerns with the Executive Office and hope that the return of live music and performances is included within their review next week.”