Sheffield nightclubs and festivals reveal reopening plans after Boris Johnson announces road map out of lockdown
Nightclub bosses and festival organisers in Sheffield have revealed their plans for the summer after Boris Johnson unveiled his road map out of lockdown.
June 21 is the earliest date nightclubs and large events like music festivals will be allowed to resume, subject to a number of criteria being met, including the vaccines rollout progressing as planned and the number of Covid deaths and hospitalisations falling.
A series of pilot events are planned over the spring, starting in April, to see how larger events could work.
If they prove successful then the go-ahead should be given for them to reopen as part of step four, the final phase of the plan to open up England which should incude all legal limits on social contact being lifted.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be allowed to reopen for indoor service from May 17 at the earliest, with table service only but no requirement for a substantial meal to accompany drinks, meaning some nightclubs could potentially operate as pubs from this date, though their dance floors would be off limits.
With last year’s summer of festivals wiped out by coronavirus, and nightclubs having been closed for many months, venues, organisers and music fans in Sheffield are itching to get dancing to live music and DJ sets again.
Sheffield’s biggest festival, Tramlines, is scheduled to take place in Hillsborough Park from July 23-25 – more than a month after the earliest date for step four – and tickets remain on sale, with more than 90 per cent having already been snapped up.
Following the Prime Minister’s announcement, a spokesman for Tramlines said: “At this point Tramlines is still in the planning stages. We will be watching developments keenly and taking a decision based on what we’re allowed to do and what we believe is safe for our attendees.”
He added that the organisers were incredibly grateful to the vast majority of ticketholders for last year’s cancelled festival who had deferred their tickets for this year rather than asking for a refund, an ‘amazing show of faith’ he said had helped not just financially but had boosted the morale of everyone involved.
On Facebook, Tramlines simply responded to Mr Johnson’s announcement with a prayer emoji, showing that while the road map offers hope there is still great uncertainty for organisers.
The organisers of BassFest, which is due to take pace on July 18 and 19 at Don Valley Bowl and claims to be the UK’s biggest ever bass festival, struck a more confident tone.
"BORIS HAS SPOKEN! THE NEWS WE HAVE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR BASSFEST WILL BE GOING AHEAD THIS SUMMER!!” they declared on Facebook in capital letters.
They said tickets were already running extremely low, with the event expected to sell out in advance.
"To say we have missed you guys would be a massive understatement. We thank each and every one of you for staying with us, so in return we are going to give you our biggest show to date!!” they added.
The Leadmill, probably Sheffield’s most famous live music venue, has announced a grand reopening week from June 21-27, with tickets already on sale and expected to sell out ‘well in advance’.
“Finally the news we’ve all been waiting for!” it posted on Facebook.
“It’s looking like we’ll be back, running at full speed with standing capacity club nights at the end of June.
“Expect a full week of packed out parties, from the very second we’re allowed them!”
Code Sheffield, which is one of the city’s most popular nightclubs, shared a post saying ‘Guess Who’s Back. 17th May. *subject to Boris’, adding ‘fingers crossed’.
Tank NightClub said it would be officially reopening on Wednesday, June 23, subject to restrictions being lifted, with tickets for the reopening weekend having already sold out.
“It’s been a truly horrible 12 months for us and our industry! We’ve lost so much and to be honest if we hadn’t have got the news we got this afternoon we would probably have had no option but to close,” it posted on Facebook.
“We hope and we pray that this is it. We can now focus on getting back to be Sheffield’s number one venue, bring back the rave and the huge acts to all our loyal customers!”
Sheffield Council, meanwhile, has called for more support for the city’s struggling nightlife economy, with so many businesses still facing a long and anxious wait to reopen.
It is demanding a continuation of the furlough scheme, business rates relief and 5 per cent VAT relief for the rest of 2021.
It also wants funding to help new businesses launch and train fresh staff to work in the sector, plus a national campaign to restore consumer confidence and encourage people to spend local when restrictions are lifted.
Cllr Mazher Iqbal, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for business and investment, said: “We have iconic venues and events in Sheffield that are known worldwide and are an integral part of our appeal as a visitor destination.
"That there is something for everyone is central to Sheffield’s uniqueness, and we simply cannot afford to lose these much-loved and valuable assets and their vital contribution to the local economy.
“The council is calling on the Government to support these businesses who have been hardest hit by the pandemic so that when the time is right, they can come back fighting and provide the vibrant nightlife we are all so looking forward to experiencing again.”