Bring Back My Choir / Bring Back My Band

The UK government guidance on reopening the performing arts published on 9 July has caused widespread disappointment, so we are now giving you the tools to make your views heard.

The guidance prohibits amateur groups or groups with amateur participants – unlike professionals – to play or sing together, except in the numbers of people currently allowed to meet in public. 

It goes further to say that singing and playing wind and brass instruments isn’t even allowed in those numbers.

The guidance (England only) will only be reviewed when the results of just commissioned research into droplet and aerosol transmission of Covid-19 are available. The Scottish and Welsh Governments and the Northern Ireland Executive are expected to issue similar guidance shortly (Wales: this week, Scotland: next two weeks, NI: n/a).

Many groups, before the guidance came out, were looking forward to meeting again, even with strict risk management measures, and were already hard at work creating a new normal, just as pubs, hairdressers and gyms are doing – considering small sectionals outside, inventing new ways of making music together in socially distanced ways, planning some sort of future. Now, not even groups of 6 outside are permitted if you are singers or wind or brass players; and still only groups of 6 outside if you play anything else.

There is no explanation why amateurs are being treated differently to professionals in this guidance.

Campaign tools

Many music groups have told us they would like to make their voices heard on this issue and that they believe amateur groups should not be treated differently to professionals, and allowed to assess and manage the risks for their own group – which will be as varied as the groups are.

So Making Music has created the tools for groups to campaign – if you wish to do so.

Safety is paramount for your group members, and for the population. This campaign is not suggesting groups should get back together if they don’t feel it is for them or when it isn’t safe.

But it is about:

  • opening up that possibility for those who can and want to
  • allowing you to risk assess your own group’s situation and taking decisions based on that (something you are all used to doing)

What can you do?

Write to your MP/MSP/MS/AM

We have written, as a representative body, supported by 52 signatories from other networks, to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Oliver Dowden to ask that leisure-time music groups be subject to the same rules as the professionals. In the devolved nations no guidance has yet been issued, so we have written (again with strong support from others) to ask that guidance there refrain from making that unjustified and disappointing distinction. 

You can write to your MP (England), MSP, MS or AM.

To help you write your own letter (more effective than a template), we have put together some statistics and arguments you may wish to make use of. There is also an example of a letter to an MP in the document or you may of course use any part of our letters to the ministers in DCMS or the devolved nations.

Letter to DCMS
Letter to the Welsh Government
Letter to the Scottish Government
Letter to the Northern Ireland Executive

Campaign on social media

Use #BringBackMyChoir #BringBackMyBand and share the video below.

You can also take a photo of yourself with one of the hashtags and post it on social media, tagging your MP, MSP, MS, AM and Making Music.