Sportpaleis Group, operator of four arenas, today joins the joint call from the Belgian concert and nightlife sector to be able to open the doors immediately to a standing audience. “We are bleeding our last blood, waiting now to staunch is guilty negligence. We urge you not to wait any longer and to switch to code orange on February 12th. Every week counts!” it sounds.
Since the introduction of the corona barometer, events with a seated audience can again take place under strict conditions in the Sportpaleis, the Lotto Arena, Vorst Nationaal and Trixxo Arena Hasselt. “Obviously this is a step forward for our affected venues, our visitors and concert promoters”, says Jan Van Esbroeck, CEO of the Sportpaleis Group. “On the other hand, doing business continues with the handbrake on. The planned concerts with a standing audience are in danger of being canceled or rescheduled. After two years, this situation is gradually becoming hopeless.”
“You cannot experience pop music and nightlife sitting down”
Sportpaleis Group therefore supports the request of the Belgian concert and nightlife sector to solve the last restrictions. “We have been struggling from one corona wave to another for almost two years now. That takes its toll on just about all sections of our society, but no sector has been confronted with closure as often as the concert and nightlife sector. The recently introduced barometer makes this painfully clear once again: where a lot of relaxation is already possible for a seated audience in code red, indoor concerts and nightlife will still remain prohibited," according to the sector.
“In code red, our halls and clubs are still closed to a standing audience. We are 'allowed' to open to a seated audience, but that is not only a very loss-making model for most concert halls and clubs, it also ignores the soul of what we do”, it sounds.
“You cannot experience pop music and nightlife sitting down. It is a total experience that touches people right down to their little toes. It gives an energy boost that contributes to the mental resistance of the artist, the audience and the employees. And that seems to us to be exactly what the community desperately needs in these times.”
“We urge you to reopen on February 12”
“Now when we hear people say that we may be able to move to code orange by the end of February, we'll lose another few crucial weeks in what is normally the busiest time of the concert and clubbing season. The barometer's ever-advanced timing is currently strangling the concert and nightlife sector. We bleed our last blood, waiting now to staunch is guilty negligence. We urge you not to wait any longer and to switch to code orange on February 12th. Every week counts!”
“In short: after the Week of Belgian Music (January 31 - February 6), we want to swing open the doors of our concert halls and nightclubs again. That is the best guarantee for a vibrant future for everyone in our sector. We are the last in line but our time has really come.”
Signed by more than 100 organizations in the live sector including Sportpaleis Group (Sportpaleis Antwerp, Lotto Arena, Vorst Nationaal, Trixxo Arena and Trixxo theatre), 5to9management, Ancienne Belgique, Arena V, Botanique, Brussels By Night Federation, Cactus Club (Brussels), Carré, Charlatan, Clubcircuit, De Roma, Democrazy, Event Confederation, Fast Forward, Festival Dranouter, Fkp Skorpio, Fuse, Garifuna, Gentle Management, Greenhouse Talent, Handelsbeurs, Hangar, Het Depot, House Of Entertainment, Kokorico, Kommilfoo Mgmt, Kras Artists, Live Nation, Live Sector Overleg, Moose Bar, Muziekodroom, N9, Nostalgia Club, Plein Publik, Pukkelpop, Red & Blue, Trix, Versuz, VI.BE, Voltage and Voo?uit.