Government Petition

slaidpog

New Member
Just picked up the story on the arts petition to HM Government asking for help and clarity on the Covid-19 situation and its likely effects on theatre and music performances, social distancing, etc.
Please consider signing the petition - it has reached the figure to guarantee a debate in parliament, but the more signatures it gains the more chance it has of showing the strength of feeling amongst musicians in particular.
The link: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/320711
 

John Brooks

Well-Known Member
There's a lot of dialogue on this topic here in Canada as well as in the US. I hope the parliamentary debate is successful in every way.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
Just picked up the story on the arts petition to HM Government asking for help and clarity on the Covid-19 situation and its likely effects on theatre and music performances, social distancing, etc.
Please consider signing the petition - it has reached the figure to guarantee a debate in parliament, but the more signatures it gains the more chance it has of showing the strength of feeling amongst musicians in particular.
The link: petition.parliament.uk/petitions/320711
I really wonder what the agenda of ‘the arts’ is on all of this. Theatres are businesses and so are some other forms of performance. Tickets for some shows can exchange hands for silly money and much of what happens in ‘the arts’ is a million miles away from the experiences of the vast bulk of the U.K. population.

It’s always been my view that if there is any money for the arts then it should be spent at grass roots levels and not on the likes of opera and orchestra. So help the Jamaican Steel Band by all means and improve the life of those (low income) folk associated with it and likewise the village am dram, but the folk who can afford to attend attend places where Gala performances are held can (as far as I’m concerned) fund themselves.

If someone wants to be paid to perform and wants to make money out of art then that’s a business. No business is obviously more worthy of subsidy than any other, if they want the money then what’s the financial return on the subsidy and what are the structural benefits (financial only) to society.

Art certainly does have a value but let us value it correctly and let any help we give it be valued by the nation as a whole rather than some elite groups.
 

slaidpog

New Member
I thought "the arts" covered all aspects of the creative sector, be it music, theatre, dance, etc., in either amateur or professional forms so a chance to get a debate in Parliament was an opportunity to bring it to the Government's attention. It's not just about money, but more importantly for me, and no doubt many others, some debate or guidance on how we are to restart the perfoming arts in the amateur world. Enough signatures were received to guarantee a debate and that took place on Thursday of last week - what a dissapointment!

Only 3 of the 34 MPs who spoke in the debate highlighted the plight of performing arts at grass roots amateur level. The rest of the debate appears to have been hijacked by MPs speaking on tourism, airports and aviation. The Minister did not attend the debate as I assume he was too busy presenting his Five-Step Roadmap for the return of live perfomances which has been roundly condemed for telling us nothing we did not already know - I quote the words of the song made famous by Dame Vera Lynn: "We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when."

I do worry about the future of live arts, particularly in the amateur world which has given me and my colleagues so much enjoyment over the years. As one of the MPs said: "a world without grass roots venues is a world where the future's talent never get the opportunity they deserve."

Let's hope that we can resume our music making as soon as it is safe to do so in these difficult times to improve the wellbeing of both performers and audiences.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
I suspect that for the bulk of the MP’s present the arts is just a part of the money making machine. Folk fly in, use hotels, hire cars, and eat at restaurants, etc., in support of seeing a show or visiting a gallery. All those make money flow in the economy and better still bring money into the country. All that matters is that there is some event to act as a draw. I understand the perspective but what it has to do with performing art, other than paying bums in seats, I do not know. Of course getting the economy going again is important and the economic costs of the various reaction routes to CV19 do need to be considered. Getting the wheels of commerce going again will involve some ‘compromises’; as an individual I intend to keep the safe side of the risks involved though.

In the current CV19 situation it would be daft to open up performances and viewings again ... but it will happen ‘cause money is involved and so are people (lobbyists) who speak into MP’s ears with promises of rewards and tails of doom. When will we all be playing again and when will we be performing? Well people will make what choices they can but IMHO the medical advice on infection is the one to follow so it’ll be two metre distancing for me indefinitely, with all that that means ... but it is frustrating. With CV19 one can’t plan towards a particular meaningful and realistic date for returning to banding (the science isn’t understood enough, there is too little control of both people and events and there are far too many variables) so my best guess is that it’s best to not book anything before next summer and to hope to be rehearsing in the spring. That said if someone doesn’t mind if their Band members get ill or their audience members suffering infections then by all means get back going as soon as the state will allow, why wait and suffer the frustration? The folk flooding onto Bournemouth beach don’t seem fussed by things so it’s all over and OK now?

As an aside one needs but to look at the Southern States in the good old US of A to see the advantages of coming out of lock down early and ignoring social distancing. There’s a lot a people dying there now in a second wave of infection - there are rewards to ignoring science and doing what you want instead. A lot of what happens in the States also (after a little time) happens here too ... make your own judgments on when that’s good and when it’s not.
 
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Jack E

Well-Known Member
@2nd tenor - as I understand it, the problem is that concert halls are still being locked down, therefore they have NO source of income. And let's not forget the fact that, under current conditions, I could not go and listen to the Fairey Engineering Band playing at the Opera House in Buxton, as I did some years ago - which was got me started in brass.
 

slaidpog

New Member
But don't forget Jack, the Prime Minister did announce that theatres could re-open, but no live performances - a confusing statement to make! This is why I, like many others I am sure, would like a little more information on when and how the amateur performing arts sector can expect to restart activities. Whilst I appreciate the health risks in restarting too soon and the need for greater social distancing for wind players, I think some in the Government have forgotten the contribution that amateur performers could make to the general wellbeing of the public in their area during these difficult times.
I have some sympathy with professional artists who have lost their income in recent months (including some former members of my band) along with theatre and concert hall owners who are losing money, but don't forget we have small volunteer-run concert halls, village halls and community centres which are not receiving any government help and will rely on their loyal local supporters to rally round once restrictions are lifted to try and get things going again. Local bands, choirs, orchestras, etc., have so much to offer their local community, if only the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport would get its act together.
I look forward to the day when I can bring the baton down at a rehearsal and more importantly at a public concert.
 

2nd tenor

Well-Known Member
@2nd tenor - as I understand it, the problem is that concert halls are still being locked down, therefore they have NO source of income. And let's not forget the fact that, under current conditions, I could not go and listen to the Fairey Engineering Band playing at the Opera House in Buxton, as I did some years ago - which was got me started in brass.
Yep, a lot of businesses have been without a source of income but still had expenses to meet, it’s been a tough time for a lot of people. I have a lot of sympathy for the operators of small and or independent venues and none for the operators of the larger ones that charge a small fortune to watch a film or see a show (particularly so if they sell tickets to ticket touts).

Just saw this and I think it pertinent to this discussion ....
I think that an excellent video and one that should be viewed by the folk making the decisions.

Personally I do not agree with pubs re-opening or the children going back to school, however I really do question how playing in a socially distanced rehearsal could be any worse than sitting in a pub, etc. I don’t know what the rules on performances are but as an audience member I’d want 2 metres plus between myself and anyone else who’s not in my household. As such that spacing by itself makes indoor performances impractical.

Whilst not involved myself my own band is doing some small group rehearsals in the open air and observing social distancing. I’d have thought that a five or ten piece group of good players could usefully put on something outdoors (bands in the park) for a small audience. Big Shinny Brass has plenty of suitable music and sometimes have a ‘deal’ on.
 
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slaidpog

New Member
I am informed that the Government are to make an announcement during this coming week about getting performing arts re-started in the UK? Will the amateur sector be included in this grand plan, or should I put the baton back in its case?
P.S. I watched the video posted earlier - very informative and like 2nd tenor says, it should be seen by the scientists and public health people making the informed decisions. The trouble is the more you look at the "blowing and saliva issues" for wind players, the more confusing and conflicting the information becomes.
 
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