LONDON August 27, 2020Ian Anderson and his band Jethro Tull have signed an open letter to the U.K. government outlining the realities of the Covid-19 crisis for musicians and suggesting possible solutions for how to bring back live music.
In the preface to his letter, Anderson notes that he had privately sent it to U.K. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden on July 1st, and again to Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage on August 12th, but had never received a response from either of them. “Hard to make any progress with this muddled, uninformed and lackluster U.K. government,” he writes. “I am so sad for all of us in this now extremely precarious industry of arts and entertainment and sad for our audiences too.”
Anderson then explains the scientifically proven safety concerns with performing music live in either outdoor or indoor venues, noting that the spread of the novel coronavirus through aerosol droplets has been found to be more likely than surface contamination, which can be avoided through proper cleaning procedures. The main challenge facing indoor venues, Anderson notes, is that they are typically cooled, dry spaces thanks to A/C units blowing air throughout the space — a perfect home for viruses.
Indoor performances have returned to certain parts of Europe, such as Germany, where scientists have tentatively begun experimenting with different concert scenarios to see how Covid-19 might be spread in a live music setting. Much is still unknown about the dangers of Covid-19 in different types of mass gatherings, but scientific evidence has backed Anderson’s claim that the virus is transmitted primarily through aerosols.