Covid restrictions across the UK will lead to a rise in unlicensed music events

Aftermath of a rave

Covid chaos rais­es fear that vacant build­ings and rur­al areas may be tar­get­ed for ille­gal New Year raves

The con­fu­sion and mixed mes­sages of Covid restric­tions across the UK will lead to a rise in unli­censed music events this New Year’s Eve, accord­ing to Nicholas Bye, Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Direc­tor, The VPS Group.

Wales and Scot­land have imposed strict reg­u­la­tions that make hold­ing large events ille­gal. Even in Eng­land, where the gov­ern­ment has announced no new restric­tions before the New Year, cities like Lon­don have declared a major inci­dent because of Covid, and par­ties and cel­e­bra­tions have already been can­celled. This wide­spread chaos is very like­ly to put pres­sure on the use of vacant prop­er­ties to host unli­censed music events, or ille­gal raves.” said Mr Bye.

Night­clubs in Wales are closed as COVID-19 infec­tion rates con­tin­ue to increase across the Unit­ed King­dom. Venues were shut­tered from 27th Decem­ber in a bid to curb the spread of the virus. Scot­land has imposed capac­i­ty lim­its for larg­er events of 100 peo­ple at indoor stand­ing events, 200 peo­ple at indoor seat­ed events, and 500 peo­ple at out­door events (whether seat­ed or stand­ing), with no exemp­tions, and with law that a dis­tance of one metre between groups of up to three house­holds must be adhered too at all indoor and out­door events.

The Lon­don May­or has can­celled the tra­di­tion­al Trafal­gar Square cel­e­bra­tions, and many pri­vate venues, due to the uncer­tain­ty around the cur­rent Covid-19 sit­u­a­tion, decid­ed not to risk a late inter­ven­tion from the gov­ern­ment by can­celling their plans in advance.

Emp­ty ware­hous­es on qui­et indus­tri­al estates, school halls, dis­used office blocks, through to fields in rur­al areas are like­ly tar­gets where hun­dreds of peo­ple can be alert­ed by social media at a moment’s notice to an unli­censed event.” Mr Bye added.

Last year, despite a pos­si­ble £10,000 fine for hold­ing such events, the police were kept busy dis­pers­ing crowds at hun­dreds of ille­gal par­ties across the UK. One thou­sand peo­ple turned up to just one such rave in an emp­ty ware­house in Ket­ter­ing, Northamp­ton­shire.

The VPS Group are urg­ing own­ers, prop­er­ty and facil­i­ty man­agers to be extra cau­tious if they have emp­ty build­ings or sites under their con­trol, and to ensure ade­quate secu­ri­ty pre­cau­tions are put in place in the next few days. Dam­age caused by raves could cost own­ers and insur­ance com­pa­nies poten­tial­ly in excess of £30 mil­lion in total.

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