Jesmond venue forced to reschedule 24 events after coronavirus announcement

Amelia Thorpe talks about the impact of the UK government's new tier system upon local Newcastle music events.

Amelia Thorpe
2nd December 2020
Bobik’s, a live music venue located on Jesmond Road, is having to undergo mass re-scheduling of events after the recent coronavirus announcement. The venue originally had plans to run a series of socially distanced gigs between November and January. However, the venue was only a couple gigs into its 24-event run before the government enforced a second lockdown.

Still hopeful, Bobik’s hoped to re-open its doors to the public on December 2nd, and allow performers back onto their stage. Matt Hancock’s recent announcement that the North East will be under Tier 3 restrictions means that Bobik’s now won’t be able to host live events.

After spending the day coming up with a new plan in line with Tier 3 restrictions, Russell Poad, events manager at Bobik’s, reveals that the venue may not be open until the end of January.

Bobik’s uses the upstairs floor of the Punch Bowl Hotel, a popular pub on Jesmond Road. Therefore, if the pub survives, the venue will too. The Punch Bowl Hotel will be facing the same restrictions as any pub within Tier 3, and may not be running as usual until the area falls under Tier 1.

The venue has already hosted many successful socially distanced gigs over the past few months, where audience members were required to: remain seated, keep at least a meter apart, wear a face covering, and sanitise their hands. They have also drastically limited the venue’s capacity to 20, which is usually between 60 and 90 people, to allow for social distancing.

Although they weren’t exactly like normal gigs, people seemed to enjoy them, Poad says, as they were as close as you could get to a normal gig under current restrictions. However, due to their relaxed nature, these types of gigs lend themselves more to acoustic soloists rather than rock bands, Poad acknowledges. “For those kinds of events,” he says. “I think we’ll have to wait until we’re completely back to normal.”

Now, uncertainty plagues the live music scene, making it both frustrating and disheartening to plan and promote live events. Everything is up in the air at the moment, Poad admits, and asks visitors to be patient as they update their website and social media pages.

Despite this, he is optimistic about the future. “I think we’ll be somewhere close to normal by late spring or early summer next year.”

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