In England, we’ve exited the latest lockdown and now enter into another period of tiered levels of restrictions relating to meeting and socialising. Brighton and the immediate areas are Tier Two which does allow gigs to take place with limits to capacity, observing social distancing and being seated. Whilst this isn’t perfect and is a long way from what gigging should be, this is part of the journey to a hopeful return in the future.
However, a complication to this is the licensing laws regarding alcohol. In Tier Two as the restrictions are currently stated and interpreted alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal and must be drunk before finishing the meal. Venues are reliant on booze sales and this limitation is another challenge to face, Also, pubs which are wet pubs, ie don’t serve food, can’t open either which means potential venues in the future are closed again for weeks if not months.
Music Venue Trust is challenging this with the argument that a ticket purchase should be accepted as an agreement between the venue and ticket holder which allows alcohol consumption without a food purchase. Whether they succeed, we will see but venues across England will have fingers crossed. Any positives at the moment are crucial for the Brighton music scene.