A Perth music venue has reported a wave of cancellations, with the industry “on the brink of collapse”.
Twa Tams on Scott Street has seen audience numbers fall rapidly since government announcements about the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“It is a critical time and very uncertain,” said co-owner Sandy Stirton.
“Audience numbers are dwindling so it is only getting harder.”
It comes as research by the Music Venue Trust (MVT) shows grassroots venues are on the “brink of collapse”.
The study found more than two thirds of venues were forced to cancel at least one event and audiences have dwindled this month.
At the Twa Tams, events are still on, but attendances have fallen, Mr Stirton said.
He said: “The figures lead to very worrying reading.”
“With the pandemic, everything is up in the air. Nobody is sure whether they should go out.
Government messaging ‘confusing’
Mr Stirton echoed the MVT’s calls on urgent assistance from the Scottish Government to safeguard venues across the country.
The trust’s chief executive Mark Davyd feels like the industry is back at the start.
He criticised “confusing government messaging” and said venues are “haemorrhaging money”.
The chief executive said it will “inevitably result in permanent closures unless the government acts quickly to prevent it.”
Mr Davyd asked the Scottish Government to step in.
Last year, eight music venues in Tayside and Fife were given thousands of pounds in lifeline Scottish Government funding.
Mr Stirton said the band booked for the Twa Tams’ Hogmanay event has cancelled.
He hopes the event can go ahead, but is mindful of ever-changing government guidance.
“I am in a band too, and our Christmas Eve gig has been cancelled,” he said.
“After the government announcement, everyone called up and cancelled their tickets.
“We will still have a Hogmanay event and we’ll get different musicians in.
“We don’t have a massive amount of confidence Hogmanay will go ahead. Things are liable to change.”
Venues at risk of closing for good
MVT strategic director Beverley Whitrick said a wave of cancellations at this time of year – the busiest for venues – was a major blow.
Ms Whitrick said it could put some venues at risk of permanent closure.
Mr Stirton said would be a huge blow to the industry if another lockdown is imposed.
He insisted they would get through.
“It costs thousands every time you shut down or reopen,” he said.
“It’s about calculating what is the slowest way you can lose money.”