SAGE expert says re-opening nightclubs is “unethical and immoral”

A doctor who sits on the independent SAGE panel has warned of the dangers of re-opening nightclubs during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Dr. Gabriel Scally has suggested that the government decided to open nightclubs on July 19 to achieve “herd immunity”.

Dr. Scally said: “I think it’s justifiable to open nightclubs but only if you believe this government policy that it’s good to have infection, and it’s good to have illness, and it’s good to have death during the summer rather than trying to prevent or postpone those into later in the year.”

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He continued: “So there is a case for it, but that case is immoral and unethical.”

Less than 48 hours after the government lifted all restrictions in England, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi announced that people will have to be fully vaccinated in order to gain entry into clubs by the end of September.

Proof of a negative coronavirus test will not be accepted alone as a condition of entry, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed on “freedom day” earlier this week (July 19), which was reiterated during a remote press conference held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Johnson noted in the briefing that 35 per cent of 18-30 year olds are still “completely unvaccinated”. Pending the success of the vaccination rollout in England, all those aged 18 and over will have been offered both jabs by September.

He added that the vaccines provide “immense benefits” to everyone’s health and safety, but that they also give access to social “pleasures” such as clubbing.

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People queue to get in to the Egg London nightclub in the early hours of July 19, 2021. CREDIT: Rob Pinney/Getty Images

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, responded to the government’s announcement saying: “So, ‘freedom day’ for nightclubs lasted around 17 hours then…. The announcement from the Prime Minister that Covid passports will be made mandatory for night clubs in September comes after his Health Secretary said only one week ago that they would not be compulsory. What an absolute shambles.

“Leaving aside the fact that this is yet another chaotic u-turn that will leave nightclubs who have been planning for reopening for months will now have to make more changes to the way they operate – this is still a bad idea.

“80 per cent of nightclubs have said they do not want to implement covid passports, worrying about difficulties with enforcing the system and a reduction in spontaneous consumers, as well as being put at a competitive disadvantage with pubs and bars that aren’t subject to the same restrictions and yet provide similar environments.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE added: “The government has had several different positions on Covid certification in the last six months and we will need to see more detail before we can understand the full impact for the live music industry. Many festivals and large venues are already adopting some level of Covid certification, and as responsible event organisers, will continue to do so.”

“What we are absolutely clear about, however, is that venues such as small music clubs should not be treated any differently to other similar-sized hospitality businesses such as bars and restaurants when it comes to the need for Covid vaccine certification.”

Nightlife resumed in England on July 19 as the country entered the fourth and final stage of its route out of lockdown. A large number of nightclubs held special opening parties, opening their doors as the restrictions were lifted at midnight.

The Music Venue Trust encouraged attendees to take a lateral flow test before attending.

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Whitney Houston hologram tour to get Las Vegas Residency

A hologram tour of the late Whitney Houston is to get a residency in Las Vegas.

An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Concert, created by BASE Hologram in partnership with the Houston estate, debuted in 2020 and was set to open in Vegas late last year until the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay.

The show will feature holograms from all stages of Houston’s career alongside backup singers, dancers and musicians.

The Vegas residency will begin on October 26 at the Harrah’s Showroom and will run until April 30, 2022.

Tickets are available now on Ticketmaster and Vivid Seats.

Photo of Whitney Houston performing on stage in 1988. CREDIT: David Corio/Redferns

Last year, Pat Houston, Whitney’s sister-in-law and executor of her estate, opened up about the project.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, she said: “In 2011, Whitney and I discussed her idea of an intimate, unplugged concert tour. It was a project we called ‘Whitney Unplugged’ or ‘An Evening with Whitney. While Whitney’s no longer with us, her voice and legacy will live on with us forever.

“‘An Evening With Whitney’ is another chance for us to relive and celebrate the talent that we were so lucky to receive for more than three decades and we’re excited to bring this cutting-edge musical experience to the fans who supported the pop culture phenomenon that was Whitney Houston because they deserve nothing less.”

Last year, it was announced that Sony Pictures has won a bidding war to produce the forthcoming Houston biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

Bohemian Rhapsody‘s Anthony McCarten will serve as the film’s writer, while The Photograph‘s Stella Meghie will direct. Sony will release the film in November 2022.

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Latitude festival offering on-site COVID-19 vaccinations this weekend

Ticketholders to this weekend’s Latitude festival will be able to get their second dose of the coronavirus vaccine at a medical bus parked on site.

Those who are yet to receive their second dose of the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccine will be able to drop in for a jab provided they have waited eight weeks since their first.

The bus in the Village area is open until Sunday (July 25). Additionally, festival-goers will be able to take lateral flow tests on site to secure entry and to prove mid-way through the event that they still aren’t infectious.

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As Eastern Daily Press reports, tests are supplied at a tent near the entrance so that ticketholders can take another one if there are issues with their first confirmation, which gains them entry into the festival unless they can prove they are fully vaccinated.

Also in the Village is another stall containing lateral flow tests. Attendees who aren’t fully vaccinated are required to do another test 48 hours after their first.

Latitude is part of the government’s Event Research Programme (ERP) and is running at full capacity. The 2021 edition opened today (July 23) – with many people arriving yesterday (July 22) to set up camp – after it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic and it runs until Sunday in Suffolk’s Henham Park.

Archive picture of the festival. CREDIT: Andy Sheppard/Redferns

The 35,000-capacity event, set to be headlined by BastilleBombay Bicycle ClubWolf Alice and The Chemical Brothers, had already been given the green light before the lifting of COVID restrictions, with festival organiser Melvin Benn announcing in June that it was part of the government’s ERP.

Those who have already had a second dose of the vaccine must have received it at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the festival.

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As a test event, Latitude is going ahead with no social distancing requirements.

In other news, yesterday (July 22) Fontaines D.C .pulled out of the festival after a band member tested positive for COVID-19. Alfie Templeman also cancelled his performance after contracting the virus.

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Pukkelpop festival cancelled due to inadequate COVID-19 testing capacity

Pukkelpop has cancelled its 2021 edition due to changes in entry requirements that are undermined by its current testing capacity to run the event safely.

The festival, which is held near Hasselt in Belgium, was set to return next month with a capacity of up to 7,000 tests per day to allow for fans to attend during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But organisers said today (July 23) that a recent reduction in the time needed to conduct rapid antigen tests and PCR tests ahead of the event has caused issues for the festival, which would have to triple its testing capacity to meet the demands of the new rules.

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As a result, Pukkelpop cannot proceed safely and has been cancelled. Ticketholders can choose to roll over their 2021 tickets to next year’s event, which will take place from August 18-21, 2022, or receive a refund.

Organisers wrote on Facebook: “The government finds itself in an unenviable position and so do we. Originally a negative PCR test carried out within 72 hours of arrival was enough but on Monday this was reduced to 48 hours. In addition, a negative antigen test was no longer sufficient for fans to be admitted to the festival. Since Thursday antigen testing is allowed again but the initial validity of 48 hours has been reduced to 24 hours.

NO PUKKELPOP 2021If there’s one certainty with Covid-19 it’s the uncertainty and when you’re trying to organise a…

Posted by Pukkelpop on Friday, July 23, 2021

“Initially we planned for a capacity of up to 7,000 tests per day at the Pukkelpop site but the 24/48 hour limit for the validity of, respectively, a rapid antigen test (RAT) or a PCR test means that we would have to triple this capacity. To put things into perspective: this is 21 times the capacity of the Park Spoor Noord testing village in Antwerp at the height of its activities. The 24/48 hour limit effectively means tripling the number of tests but there is no way we could guarantee the government we can organise this under safe circumstances. This is simple math and a healthy dose of common sense.”

They concluded the message with thanks to their fans and the government – particularly the festival team who “moved heaven and earth to make Pukkelpop 2021 an unforgettable event. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be”.

Liam Gallagher, Future, Editors and Marshmello were among some of the acts playing this year’s festival between August 19 and 22.

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Watch Green Day perform songs from their first show since coronavirus outbreak

Green Day have performed their first full concert in over a year in the US.

The band played a host of classic hits at a warm-up show at Cain’s Ballroom in Tulsa ahead of their ‘Hella Mega Tour’ with Fall Out Boy and Weezer later this week. The UK/European leg was recently postponed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Among the tracks the band played were 1994 ‘Dookie’ single ‘Welcome To Paradise’, ‘Jesus Of Suburbia’ and ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’, all of which you can view below.

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Green Day also played fan favourites such as ‘Holiday’, ‘Still Breathing’ and ‘Minority’.

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The band will kick off their ‘Hella Mega Tour’ on Saturday (July 24) at the Globe Life Field in Texas. It will wrap up at the T Mobile Park in Seattle on September 6.

Green Day played:

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‘Welcome to Paradise’
‘2000 Light Years Away’
‘Longview’
‘Burnout’
‘Hitchin’ A Ride’
‘Rock And Roll All Nite’
‘Brian Stew’
‘St. Jimmy’
‘When I Come Around’
‘Going To Pasalacqua
‘Waiting’
‘Scattered’
‘Minority’
‘Pollyanna’
‘Holiday’
‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams’
‘Still Breathing’
‘Jesus Of Suburbia’

The band recently teased that new music could be on the horizon.

They returned with the single ‘Pollyanna’ in May, which followed on from February’s ‘Here Comes The Shock’. Their latest album, ‘Father Of All Motherfuckers’, came out in early 2020.

Speaking to the band’s own Oakland Coffee company for its ‘Morning Roast’ interview series, Mike Dirnt was asked what he had coming up that he was most looking forward to.

“New music… and unknown adventures,” he replied.

It was also recently announced that Green Day are getting their own Funko Pop! dolls.

The new dolls are modelled on the band’s 2004 video for ‘American Idiot’, which saw Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool dressed up in black shirts with coloured ties.

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