Bristol Beacon gives update on construction work and live programme for 2021

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The £48.8m transformation at the historic venue is making progress

The events industry was one of the first to get shut down when coronavirus started to spread and it’s likely to be one of the last to return.

With the new variant wreaking havoc on festival organisers’ plans for 2021, many connected with the sector are predicting another tough year ahead.

But there are some glimmers of hope to cling onto for those who desperately want to see live events resume in Bristol.

Not only did the mass vaccination process recently get underway at Ashton Gate, one of seven regional centres across the UK, but construction work at one of the city’s most historic venues is entering a key phase.

A new roof at Bristol Beacon – which has been closed since June 2018 to allow for a £48.8m transformation to take place – is set to be installed before the summer.

Louise Mitchell, chief executive of Bristol Beacon, gave an update on the work, which is being carried out by contractors Willmott Dixon.

She said: “In the next six months, there will be lots of exciting construction activity in the Bristol Beacon.

“With the roof off in the main hall, currently the balcony steels are going in along with the large pre-cast concrete balconies.

“Once complete, attention will focus on the roof, with the first of the roof trusses starting in early February, followed by the main roof works in April.

“We should have a shiny new roof by the summer. In hall two February will see the roof restored and start of the specialist restoration of the plasterwork.”

While Bristol Beacon itself won’t be opening anytime soon with a reopening date yet to be announced, the team behind it are hopeful of presenting various shows at other venues across the city this year.

One such planned gig is Nile Rodgers and Chic, which was initially due to take place in summer 2020 but was rescheduled for mid-July at the Lloyds Amphitheatre.

Todd Wills, Bristol Beacon’s Artistic Director, said he hopes to help get the industry back to work “as soon as possible”.

He said: “Live music is certainly on the agenda again as we look to spring and summer 2021.

“There are few industries better able to deal with stringent health and safety measures and many in the sector have already proven that we are able to put on capacity controlled, safe events.

“We are hopeful that with the vaccination, rapid testing and Covid control measures in place, we will be able to start helping musicians, techs and the wider industry get back to work as soon as possible.

“The Beacon programming team is busy rescheduling our January and February events and we think it is vital for the survival of our industry to work together to stage these as soon as we can, as laid out by the plans from UK music in their recent report.

“The impact of lockdown on the culture sector has been difficult to navigate for everyone and impossible for some, so we’ll be working with our other venue colleagues, promoters and artists in Bristol to do everything we can to ‘Let The Music Play’, whether that’s outdoors or indoors.”

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