It was a brave attempt: despite the pandemic, K-music 2020 was originally planned to open and close with live gigs. Now neither gig will now go ahead as planned.
Flying over ADG7, a 9-member band with its associated staff, as Covid conditions worsened proved too much of a challenge. So the opening concert was the first to admit defeat. The closing concert, with only one Korean performer in a collaboration with a British performer, put up more resistance. First the venue, Pizza Express Holborn, announced a suspension of live music for a few months. An alternative venue was found (King’s Place) but then the second national lockdown was announced, which caused not only the suspension of live music but also the cancellation of in-theatre screenings for the London Korean Film Festival. The London East Asia Film Festival has been pushed back into December in an effort to escape the lockdown.
For the record, here’s what the two venues told their K-music ticket-holders about the cancellations.
King’s Place were the first to tell their audience, on Thursday 22nd, that the opening concert would not be going ahead:
We regret to inform you that this event has been cancelled. Please see the below message from the show curators at Serious…
‘The ADG7 concert will be postponed until K-Music 2021 because of concerns about travelling at present. The rest of the K-Music 2020 programme will go ahead as planned – see www.serious.org.uk/K-Music for details’
You will receive a full refund to the original payment method within the next 7 working days.
We apologise for this disappointment, but look forward to welcoming ADG7 next year.
Then on Friday 23rd, Pizza Express Live made the tough but understandable decision to suspend live performances at their venues until Spring next year. With the current rule that you’re not meant to have anyone other than family groups sitting at the same table (a rule you see broken far too often throughout London) there was the prospect of several single-occupant tables for a gig: not great for atmosphere or revenues. Their email to ticketholders read as follows:
I’m sorry to be writing to let you know that we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel all shows at our four PizzaExpress Live venues until Spring 2021. As a result, I’m afraid your reservation is cancelled, and we will now begin the task of processing refunds to all ticket holders. You can expect a confirmation email regarding your purchase(s) to be with you in the next seven days, then your refund will follow once processed by your bank. This usually takes 3-5 working days. If there’s an issue in our processing the refund, we will contact you.
Despite a successful trial re-opening at PizzaExpress Live in Holborn during October and working hard to implement extensive safety measures, we believe these precautions could become increasingly intrusive in our small, intimate Live venues – particularly if national restrictions increase as COVID cases rise nationally.
As a result, regrettably we are cancelling all shows at PizzaExpress Live in Holborn, the Pheasantry in Chelsea and the PizzaExpress Jazz Club in Soho until next spring. PizzaExpress Live in Birmingham has remained closed since lockdown, but we have big plans for reopening 2021.
We remain devoted to supporting live music, and will work closely with the performers and their teams to rearrange the dates once the situation has improved.
This is the last decision we wanted to reach. We know the disappointment it will bring to our valued customers and the incredibly talented artists who were scheduled to play – but safety and caution must prevail.
The email came out at 7pm on Friday evening, so both Serious and the KCCUK are currently still listing the event (will another venue be found?) but the PizzaExpress box office site won’t let you buy tickets.
Still, there’s a great line-up of online concerts to enjoy, and we look forward to seeing ADG7 and others in the flesh next year.
Note: this post has been edited over the weeks to reflect the changing covid situation and the nationwide lockdown.