Van Morrison is speaking out against the gig restrictions (including social-distancing requirements for audience members) issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, labeling the measures “pseudo-science” and calling on the music community to “speak up.”
The 74-year-old Rock and Roll Hall of Famer expressed his opinion in a recently published blog post. Entitled “Save Live Music,” Van Morrison opened the approximately 170-word-long piece by noting that his ongoing series of socially distanced shows in England is “not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs.” Rather, the “Brown Eyed Girl” writer and singer says that he booked the performances “to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums.”
“This is also not the answer going forward,” Van Morrison’s firmly worded message continues. “We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.”
From there, the Northern Ireland native requests that musicians, writers, producers, and “others in the industry” join him in voicing disapproval of Britain’s updated social-distancing requirements, which went into effect on Saturday, August 15th.
Van Morrison further urged the music industry to “come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up” in opposition to the requirements. Additionally, the former Them lead singer implores his supporters to supply their names via email, as he intends to publish an all-encompassing list of the cause’s backers. “It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now,” the text states towards its close.
Under the British government’s aforementioned requirements for crowd-based events, venues are obligated to maintain social distancing between audience members, frequently clean seats, and adhere to an abundance of other provisions designed to limit COVID-19’s spread. While welcoming the return of socially distanced gigs as a step towards the reemergence of full-scale concerts, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) signaled “that the vast majority of grassroots music venues are not financially able, or even have the physical premises layout, to deliver these newly permitted events.”
Though social-distancing measures and live-event bans remain in place throughout much of the U.S., Van Morrison and other artists can currently play traditional shows in some states, including Missouri, Oklahoma, North Dakota, and Idaho. Moreover, many excitement-seeking fans have taken it upon themselves to enjoy the concert experience despite government restrictions.
In England, police characterized a 13-hour, 3,000-attendee rave as “impossible” to immediately stop. Stateside, different ravers yet made headlines after gathering beneath New York’s Kosciuszko Bridge until the earlier hours of the morning, and a jam-packed Chainsmokers gig in the Hamptons spurred a full-scale investigation.