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Coronavirus lockdown exit: Football matches and music festivals among large events ‘likely to be off’ for months

© Andrew Cawley / DCT MediaThe TRNSMT music festival in Glasgow is scheduled for July
The TRNSMT music festival in Glasgow is scheduled for July

Football and live music events are among the large public events likely to be cancelled or postponed while Scotland moves out of coronavirus lockdown.

Outlining initial steps towards an exit strategy today, Nicola Sturgeon said that “big gatherings and events are likely to be off for some months to come”, with some measures possibly extending into next year.

The First Minister said that certain businesses could potentially re-open, along with schools and limited outdoor activities where social distancing measures could be put in place.

But the message on large events like football games and concerts, which would potentially see thousands in attendance, was that there would be no return to business as normal any time soon.

We are likely to require that gathering in groups, for example in pubs or at public events, is banned or restricted for some time to come.
– Scottish Government report

Ms Sturgeon insisted that moving out of lockdown would not be a “flick of the switch” moment, adding: “A return to normal as we knew it is not on the cards in the near future.

“We will be seeking to find a new normal – living alongside the virus in a form that keeps it under control.”

‘We will seek to find a new normal’: First Minister sets out Scotland’s lockdown exit strategy


The continuation of the Scottish football season, or the start of a new one, remains up in the air.

If play resumes, it is unlikely that fans will be able to attend stadiums in vast numbers until there is a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19.

This could see games played behind closed doors, as planned in Germany and Denmark where authorities are looking to resume football next month.

Games could be available to fans on TV, or in more creative ways, such as Danish side Midtjylland’s plan to set up big screens to allow a ‘drive-in’ broadcast for fans outside the stadium.

In the world of music, a number of live events across the country look almost certain to be cancelled or postponed.

Thousands of Scots were expected to attend the likes of TRNSMT in Glasgow, still scheduled for July, as well as Summer Sessions events at Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens in August.

Playground Festival in East Renfrewshire, which had already moved back dates, is also likely to be affected, as well as all scheduled gigs at indoor venues across the country.

Diana Ross, Stormzy and Biffy Clyro are among acts scheduled to play the 12,000 capacity SSE Hydro in Glasgow before the end of 2020, and a number of events are also planned for Aberdeen’s P&J Live.

Anyone who has tickets for events is advised to keep an eye on venue and artist announcements on potential postponements and cancellations.

Edinburgh’s world famous festivals have been cancelled for this year, including the Fringe, the Edinburgh International Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Many other cultural events across the country have also had to pull the plug or hold online versions.

The Scottish Government’s paper on its lockdown exit strategy can be read here.

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