Venues fall silent in the month that music died

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The huge C2C country music festival, which in 2019 drew 70,000 fans across Europe and was due to kick off this month, was closed down last week as many American artists were unable to travel to London’s O2 Arena because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet across town in the west of the capital, Elvis Costello was playing to a nearly packed house — albeit adding the song Hurry Down Doomsday (The Bugs Are Taking Over) to a set that had an end-of-days feel. Assuming it might be their last night out in a while, fans stayed after he left the stage to continue dancing, some with face masks on.

The UK’s live music sector has been struggling to react to changing government advice on mass public gatherings over the past week. It has warned that the lack of clarity has left an industry that employs 190,000 people facing a…

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