'People are keen to come' - What is happening with our big summer events?
- Credit: Nick Butcher
Plans are stepping up for the return of cultural events this summer in response to Boris Johnson's lockdown roadmap announcement - but organisers say it will not be plain-sailing.
Events such as Comedy In The Park are set to go ahead after the prime minister revealed June 21 as the earliest date when all legal limits on social interaction are lifted.
Discussions are ongoing regarding Norwich Pride and The Killers concert at Carrow Road with no updates on these eagerly anticipated events at this stage.
And despite the optimism provided by the Government's roadmap, there are still elements of doubt for some Norwich events this summer.
Phil Cutter, co-chairman of Norwich City of Ale, said a Zoom meeting will be taking place on Thursday this week to discuss the options for this year's potential event.
He said: "It normally takes six months to organise the City of Ale so we may have to consider whether we look at something later in the year or focus our thoughts on making 2022 bigger and better than in the past."
Organisers of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival have also struck a cautionary tone with the event initially scheduled to take place between May 14-30. Step Three of the roadmap out of lockdown has been set for May 17.
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Daniel Brine, Norfolk and Norwich Festival director said: "We’re delighted to note that the Government’s proposed date of May 17 to open indoor venues and allow outdoor performance coincides with our festival planning.
"However, we’re aware that there is still a way to go until the greenlight can be given for this date.
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"We are grateful to everyone for bearing with us while we work out how we can be with you this year safely.
"Whatever happens, we intend to have the festival in some capacity, be that online or socially distanced, whatever the safest way forward might be."
Local music venues have welcomed the Government's announcement with The Brickmakers on Sprowston Road set to launch an outdoor music event on May 30 with eight acts already booked.
Landlady Charley South said social distancing would be in place with tables of six being arranged outside.
She added: "I was getting phone calls until about 10.30 last night asking for gigs and my inbox is full this morning.
"It is a nice problem to have. We can't get back soon enough and it will feel like the longest three months ahead but we have got plenty to plan."
The University of East Anglia is scheduled to welcome an array of well-known musicians this year including Becky Hill, Kodaline and The Fratellis.
A spokesman said they were "excited" to welcome gig-goers back.
"The last year has also been hard on the workers and artists who run and put on events," he said.
"We are committed to supporting the return to our venues of customers, artists and performers as quickly and safely as possible. This is subject to understanding how the Government intends this to work."
Adam Garwood is the lead guitarist for King's Lynn band The Extons, who are lined up to play at Norwich Waterfront in November, and who are also hoping to do a mini tour this summer.
He said: "We are just itching to get back and start planning summer gigs again. Hearing that last night was mega."
As well as being welcome news for local bands, the Government announcement has also raised hopes for summer events like the Old Buckenham Airshow, scheduled to run from July 30 to August 1.
Event organiser Matt Wilkins said: "We are not taking it as an absolute given. If everything does not go to plan as set out by the Prime Minister, then we would at least transfer all tickets to 2022.
"We are all seeing what happens but really we are looking at what was written and there appears to be a fairly minimal consideration for Covid at that stage of the summer.
"Judging by the reaction on Facebook, lots of people are keen to come which is extremely gratifying and it is building up to be a sizeable event."
The Sundown Festival is set to take place at the Norfolk Showground from September 3-5 with Sean Paul, Raye, Wilkinson, Example and Becky Hill all on the line-up.
A festival organiser said: "As the UK takes its first steps out of lockdown, we are feeling positive about the prospect of closing the summer festival season in Norwich.
"Our teams will continue with planning over the coming weeks and months, a process that includes close liaison with representatives from the local Safety Advisory Group.
"We look forward to being able to share more with Sundown fans soon."