Insights Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) writes to the Government as live music and theatre industries sue for COVID-19 research data


ISM has written to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to again ask the Government to publish the delayed Events Research Programme (ERP) report into COVID-19 and urgently release the live events guidance for Step 4 of the roadmap. ISM says that the ERP data is “vital for live events organisers to be able to plan safely this summer and beyond”.

Separately, the live music industry body LIVE and a range of theatre businesses, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, Cameron Mackintosh, Michael Harrison and Sonia Friedman, have begun legal proceedings against the Government to force it to hand over the report of Phase 1 of the ERP. They believe that the Government has breached its duty of transparency and that none of the reasons given for withholding the data withstands scrutiny. They have asked the court to consider their application at an urgent hearing as soon as possible.

The ERP is the Government’s research into COVID-19 mitigations in sport, entertainment and business conferences settings. These events have been a huge success, according to the Government itself in various press reports, showing that with proper precautions in place live events at full capacity can go ahead safely.

But, ISM says, the Government chose to keep the live entertainment industry under severe restrictions from 21 June, while allowing parts of the economy to operate that have not been subject to similar scientific studies, including hospitality, public transport and retail.

As well as forming the basis for a reopening decision for 19 July, ISM says that the ERP findings will also help ensure that live entertainment does not need to be the first to close should there be a resurgence in the pandemic over the winter. In ISM’s view COVID-19 certification, plus simple mitigation measures in venues, mean that events would still be able to run safely. To read ISM’s press release in full, click here.