Bombshell: Concert artists are exempted from UK quarantine

Bombshell: Concert artists are exempted from UK quarantine


norman lebrecht

December 03, 2020

From the Association of British Orchestra:

We are delighted to announce that the ABO and other stakeholders have been able to secure an exemption from quarantine regulations for professional performing artists travelling to the UK and for those returning from activity overseas (who have upcoming work commitments). Legislation will be laid in parliament and the exemption will come into force from 4am on Saturday 5th December.
Arts Council England will be publishing guidance shortly on how the exemption will be applied.
This exemption will apply initially to England only. Its extension to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will need ministerial approval from their respective governments.


  • will says:

    Absolutely wonderful news for all musicians!

  • Rodger says:

    So musicians and their “stakeholders” are allowed to infect the populace with Covid-19 while regular people have to quarantine and abide by the rules? Sounds fair.

  • mary says:

    Oh because music vaccinates against Covid?

  • Peter says:

    This is in one way absurd… how many UK musicians have lost their living, and now they will be replaced by foreigners flying in and out of Heathrow in 48 hours?

  • Hayne says:

    Outstanding! Our masters are so generous.

  • Thomas Dawkins says:

    So musicians don’t make other people sick? I don’t get it.

    • Occamsrazor says:

      People are trying to figure out the logic of the present situations. The logic is the destruction of people’s ability to think logically. You don’t get it and neither do most modern people. 500 years ago, people had to wallow daily in acutely insane rituals to show their subservience, the lives of certain isolated tribes today are also no different from those of severely mentally ill. People whose background is arts often are clueless about the material world and all things scientific and hence are one of the groups most vulnerable to manipulation. Have you seen the very recent footage of our govt officials ignoring their own rules about masks, distancing etc? Enjoying fancy dinners among crowds of maskless friends? They want the masses to see all this. It’s not aimed at those of us who knew the deal on the day one of this affair and who lost their trust in any government long ago, right after being toilet-trained. TPTB have no interest in reaching to such skeptics in any way because their reputation among us is forever stuck at zero. Everything they do, even their seeming screwups is aimed at the suggestible segment of society. They know that the congenital skeptics like us can only be remedied by a firing squad. The suggestible majority is bombarded by news so contradictory that people start to question their own sanity and basic comprehension of their native languages. On one hand, we have a global deadly pandemic which has warranted the measures that themselves threaten our survival but have already become normal to many due to the sheer passage of time. On the other hand, musicians in one country are suddenly exempt from the necessary rules and politicians in another are filmed while behaving the old, before-the-new-normal way. The suggestible majority is jolted out of the last reserves of their tranquility and starts to analyze the fresh shocking cognitive dissonance of the day, trying to understand the logic of another hastily concocted, mediocre, mental shit-burger designed to chip away at our ability to think and react logically. This non-stop bombardment is aimed at reducing the minds and egos of the suggestible segment to the level of medieval peasants at first (this phase is almost completed already), followed by them reaching the level of barn animals, you can see even those quite often in NYC now. As for the minority which is impervious to the current, pretty mediocre, global trauma-based control attempt ( let’s face it, any Gypsy lady from Eastern Europe can do an infinitely better job than these pathetic soulless losers), we observe, take mental notes, share with friends the occasional especially pathetic tactic of these self-appointed gods, while we’re losing the last milligrams of respect for our species. The only shock to us that took some time to absorb was realizing how simply this affair was put together. This simplicity is in our face as a particularly dehumanizing insult, no subtlety or a touch of demonic presence that was needed during the past dictatorships. The majority is treated like retards with no sense of selves by mediocre teachers of special education whose lack of empathy and the ability to lie about anything, anytime and on camera are the only skills now required for the job. You can say all you want about the dictators of the past but many had warped, demonic talents. We no longer deserve adversaries like Bonaparte who remembered the name of every one of his soldiers. Fauci and Pelosi will suffice.

  • Tausk says:

    Brilliant! Canada (and the rest of the world) what are you waiting for!

  • Stephen Diviani says:

    Excellent news. And as somebody who had to quarantine after a Spanish holiday I say that without any bitterness or envy.

  • Miko says:

    The ABO is a club, a chumocracy that somehow claims to speak for British orchestral music, smooching at the DCMS as if by divine right.
    I’ve seen its ethos and leadership up close:
    Question it’s legitimacy and watch it carefully.

    • Mark Pemberton says:

      Really? Be helpful if you could reveal your identity, so I can assess just how “close” to its leadership you have actually been. The ABO has worked incredibly hard on behalf of the classical music industry during this pandemic. It’s upsetting to see such snarky comments.

      • Miko says:

        I tell you what, Mark. I’ll show you my cards if you publish the correspondence between the ABO and Dowden/Knight relating to mutual narrative post brexit. Deal? Oh, and by the way, neither I nor anyone I know in the music business voted for your advocacy, or that of the ABO, so I’ll stick with the self appointed.

        • Mark Pemberton says:

          I have literally no idea what this post means. There is no such correspondence with Dowden. And who is Knight? I do wish Norman would not allow anonymity – it lets people get away with total nonsense.

          • Miko says:

            The anonymity is a sorry testament to the asymmetric power relationships within our industry: i.e, small fry musicians tug forlocks and keep schtum while orchestra “directors” (as they now like to call themselves) build personal empires and advocate on behalf of illusory “memberships” (musicians) who never vote for you, just put up with you (collective “you”).
            So, Norman, I imagine your journalistic integrity will keep sources anonymous as required and not, as Mark suggests, “do the dirty”.

            To expect me to buy that you have no idea what I’m talking about (Julian Knight etc) when your own spiel says the following:
            “In return (for DCMS Covid support), UK orchestras will: get back to business etc….and prepare for the UKs post-brexit future”.
            You (collectively) have spent months attempting to court Dowden and co. in the misguided belief that our industry can weather the double hit of Covid /brexit with crumbs from the DCMS table. People are going bust, Mark, and just pretending there isn’t a problem doesn’t make the problem go away.
            I’m well aware there are some who envisage a Darwinian slimming down as being no bad thing in the orchestral sector, but can assure you that for those whose careers are now toast the resounding limp wristed response from those in whom power is bestowed (either deservedly or otherwise) has not gone unnoticed.
            If you put out a statement suggesting brexit is a bad idea, it wasn’t picked up by anyone. Why? Because it wasn’t loud, vigorous, repetitive or rude enough.

            As for accountability, Mark, I appreciate your explanation of how you all vote for each other.
            I’ve yet to meet a working musician who did.

        • Mark Pemberton says:

          And now I have twigged that “Knight” is chair of the Culture Select Committee. The ABO has had no direct contact with him, but has submitted responses to Select Committee inquiries which are publicly available on their website. The ABO’s public position on Brexit has been, since before the referendum, that it will be highly damaging to the UK’s orchestras in relation to access to talent and touring into Europe. So not sure what the conspiracy theory implied in this post is all about. On “voting”, the ABO board is elected from within its membership, and in turn oversees the work of the executive. This is common practice and not sure how we could make it any more democratic,

      • Miko says:

        As you mention the pandemic, it might be worth gauging this reaction to your efforts at the DCMS re elite artist exemptions from Professor Devi Sridar (Director Public Health, Scotland):

        Perhaps not so wise.

      • Miko says:

        Just heard your “warmer spin” on R4. No amount of nonsense can cover the loss to British music from brexit. Who the hell is the ABO to equivocate on behalf of the DCMS?

  • Andrew says:

    It’ll be interesting to understand why the BBC are currently advising their performance groups to uphold the old rules and not accept artists from outside the UK under these new guidelines.