Four-point plan aims to deliver safe return of live music and sport

Rebecca Black, PA

An international body representing arenas has launched a four-point plan for the safe return of live music and sport events.

Live events have been cancelled across the world amid strict public health measures introduced by governments trying to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) has launched its manifesto, outlining the next steps for the safe return of live events across Europe.

The plan was unveiled on Thursday at the end of its second virtual conference, #AGameofTwoHalves: The Return Leg.

A Game of Two Halves: The Return Leg

The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) – a special purpose initiative, created by the European Arenas Association (EAA) – hosts its second virtual conference, #AGameofTwoHalves: The Return Leg on Thursday 18 February.Top names from the worlds of live music and sport will come together with key EU decision-makers for the event, which will follow an ambitious live music experiment organised by the Rockhal arena which takes place in Luxembourg this week. Behind the scenes content and insights from the Rockhal test concerts will be screened as part of the conference, offering an opportunity to reflect on the lessons learned and next steps and helping to frame the discussion around what still needs to be done. The ARA will also launch its manifesto, outlining the next steps required to build towards the safe return of live events across Europe

Posted by European Arenas Association on Thursday, February 18, 2021

It proposes the creation of an advisory body to guide and instruct for an effective return of live events.

It also suggests:

– A hub for return and change, using the ARA’s network of large-capacity arenas across Europe.
– Adapting for the future of live events, including the development of new environmentally sustainable and digital practices.
– A safe and sustainable post-Covid-19 ecosystem, with safer, greener and more efficient environments.

The ARA said the Rationale for a Resilient Return manifesto has been prepared for a critical moment for the events industry, and the “key elements of Europe’s cultural identity” must be preserved by bringing back live music and sport.

“We must bring the different parts of the ecosystem together to create safer, greener and more efficient environments where European citizens can meet to relax, socialise and enjoy themselves,” it added.

Live music
Robert Fitzpatrick (Odyssey Trust/PA)

ARA co-founder Robert Fitzpatrick, chief executive of the Odyssey Trust, which owns the SSE Arena in Belfast, said the manifesto will be an important tool in preparation for the return of live events while working to protect the health of communities and the sustainability of the industry.

The event followed a live music experiment organised by the Rockhal arena in Luxembourg last week.

A series of five live shows took place from February 10-14 with audiences limited to 100 each night, allocated seats and social distancing controls.

Full results from the experiment are expected in around two weeks

Olivier Toth, chief executive of Rockhal, said the gigs were an “important and positive step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back to business strategies”.

The ARA’s virtual conference was delivered in partnership with IQ Magazine.

The event is available to watch again on the EAA YouTube channel and Facebook page.

A spokesperson for the UK’s Government said: “As the Prime Minister has said, we want this lockdown to be the last – which is why we will seek to ease restrictions in a way that is cautious, but irreversible.

“We are working hard to get audiences back as soon as it is safe to do so, and we will publish our road map on Monday after carefully reviewing the impact of current restrictions and the vaccine programme on infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

“No decisions have been made yet.”

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