British singer-songwriter Frank Turner will be the first musician to legally perform live in the United Kingdom since the outbreak of COVID-19 ravaged the live music industry over four months ago. The musician is set to play Tuesday, July 28th at The Clapham Grand in a pilot event requested by the U.K. government to test the return of live events.

Turner began his music career just after the turn of the century and gained prominence with the post-hardcore group Million Dead. Since splitting from the group in 2005, he has made a name for himself in the United Kingdom as an acoustic, folk-punk musician who has also hosted his own music festival, Lost Evenings Festival, annually since 2017.

In this test event for future live concerts, The Clapham Grand will operate at 20 percent capacity, going from its standard 1,250 person limit down to 200. It was announced earlier this month by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that indoor concerts will return to England beginning on August 1st, with all venues adopting major coronavirus restrictions including heavily reduced capacity, social distancing measures, increased sanitation, and more.

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“Preparing for the first Government pilot for live music is a step in the right direction for the industry but not without its challenges,” Clapham Grand manager Ally Wolf said. “We are operating this evening on less than 20% capacity; from 1250 to 200. This paired with vastly increased operational costs to fit with COVID Compliance, without a reduction in any of our fixed overheads, means that we are opening to a loss of revenue, which isn’t sustainable for the future.

“This isn’t just about surviving our enforced COVID closure, or about reopening for one show, one week or even a month,” Wolf continued. “This is about future-proofing one of the world’s oldest entertainment venues, to make sure in its 120th year The Clapham Grand is made secure for audiences to enjoy shows for centuries to come.”

If pilot events like Turner’s concert go as planned, Johnson has signaled that “audiences in-stadia”, conferences, and other mass gatherings would be able to resume beginning in October. This pilot event also comes less than two weeks after the announcement that outdoor concerts and festivals can resume, provided that promoters and organizers abide by “A limited and socially distanced audience.” While England begins to take baby steps toward normalcy, many, including Turner himself, are wary of trying to take too big a leap too fast.

“Ever since lockdown put a stop to live performances, like most people I’ve been waiting for that glorious day when we’d get back to a ‘normal’ gig again,” Turner said. “Today is not that day – we’re facing a serious and unprecedented global pandemic. But both I and my friends at the Clapham Grand are keen to work with the government to work out how we get closer to that moment, so, at their request, we’re putting together a pilot show to see how live music can move forward. This will be an unusual, experimental and unique evening, and there will be many regulations to follow, but it feels like it’s a small step in the right direction for me and my industry.”