Concert touring industry unites to launch covid-19 working guidance

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Robbie Williams at BST Hyde Park

Professionals from across the global concert touring industry have joined forces to form the PSA Tour Production Group (PSA TPG), in order to provide a unified response to the impact of COVID-19 on live music events.

The group is a new arm of the Production Services Association – the largest UK trade body for the live event production industry – and includestour managers, production managers, safety professionals, venue and festival managers, travel and logistics specialists, promoters, and leading industry suppliers, who work with artists at all levels of touring, from emerging acts to the biggest performers in the world.

The PSA Tour Production Group has an impressive record in live events and touring productions. Past and present clients of the team include Madonna, Queen + Adam Lambert, Sam Smith, P!nk, Kings of Leon, Robbie Williams, Spice Girls, One Direction, Adele, U2, BST Hyde Park, Reading Festival, Nile Rodgers, Anastacia, Fatboy Slim, Ed Sheeran, Neighbourhood, Bluedot Festival, Tool, Isle of Wight Festival, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Lollapalooza and Underworld.

PSA TPG’s formation centres around the touring community getting back to work safely and supporting its survival in a pre-vaccine COVID-19 era. The Group acknowledges that tour-specific guidelines will become the norm in order for live production professionals to work and interact safely and offers workable solutions that scale in accordance with current, regionalised threat levels.

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The COVID-19 Working Procedures Guidance outlines how touring productions – which include one-off shows, festivals and live events of any size that require moving personnel and equipment to a new destination – can better align with suppliers, venues and promoters through consistency and consultation to assist risk management relating to COVID-19 transmission.

Pictured: Roger Waters performing at BST Hyde Park

Based around a hierarchy of control (including elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administration and PPE) and a responsive threat scale, the guidance details different levels of design, schedule and control measures appropriate to conditions. These measures include social distancing, health declarations and monitoring, hygiene and cleaning, and mitigation.

This responsive document is designed to add to existing guidance outlining practical measures that will inform tour-specific risk assessments and method statements. Production industry professionals are encouraged to provide feedback. 

Take That’s touring productions operate under the helm of Production Manager Chris Vaughan. He says: “We have brought together the leading experts in live music concert touring to agree on how tours should be run whilst the threat of COVID-19 remains with us. Production and Tour Managers are responsible for the operational, logistical, financial, creative and technical delivery of concerts around the world and, as such, we are proposing a series of guidelines that can be practically and realistically implemented.”

Sam Smith’s Production Manager, Wob Roberts, comments: “COVID-19 is an unwelcome addition to the rider yet there’s no better group of people to find the solution than those that deliver shows for a living. More than a document, this is intended to be a responsive set of protocols that efficiently move with a changing environment.”

From the festival circuit, BST Hyde Park Production Director Mark Ward adds: “From an industry whose timeless motto is ‘the show must go on’, the pandemic has been a devastating blow – both economically and for the mental wellbeing of the huge number of people who work behind the scenes. These new documents offer many of the answers those people are searching for.”

The procedures aim to offer unity and hope; a collective voice of peer support and best practice. If the live events industry pioneers this change together, when audiences can return, production teams the world over can be ready behind the barrier.