Music venues boss hits out at Glastonbury going online as live gigs restart

The Somerset festival will host acts including Coldplay, Damon Albarn and Jorja Smith in a livestream event on May 22.
Music venues boss hits out at Glastonbury going online as live gigs restart

By Alex Green, PA Entertainment Reporter

The boss of the Music Venue Trust has described Glastonbury’s decision to host a global livestream on the first weekend music venues can reopen as “disappointing”.

Mark Davyd, founder and chief executive of the organisation, said the move represented a “complete failure” by organisers to support grassroots venues hard hit by the pandemic.

Coldplay, Damon Albarn and Jorja Smith are among the artists booked to play at various well-known sites around Worthy Farm, including the Stone Circle and Pyramid field, on May 22.

The ticketed event falls on the same date as the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam, and the same week indoor venues can reopen with social distancing, in line with the Government’s road map out of lockdown.

Mr Davyd wrote on Twitter: “I think what the live industry really needs right now is some collective, collaborative, joined-up thinking.

“Announcing the world’s largest online event for the first weekend on which limited, actual in-person events are permitted really isn’t that.

“I’m going to politely describe the decision by @glastonbury to choose that specific weekend as ‘disappointing’.

Coronavirus – Mon Jun 1, 2020
MVT chief executive Mark Davyd (Music Venue Trust/PA)

“But it unfortunately reflects a complete failure by the festival to support grassroots music venues. Literally no engagement with @musicvenuetrust at all.”

Tickets for the virtual event, which will be broadcast across four separate time zones, cost £20, with organisers also saying there will be “a number of unannounced surprise performances”.

Mr Davyd later added: “Apparently we can’t stop Glastonbury running a live stream event heavily promoted by the media on the first weekend on which real, actual events will finally take place.

“But we can promote #ReviveLive and persuade people to spend their £20 in venues that need it.”

Glastonbury has been contacted for comment.

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