Hot on the topic of returning to the world of live events, we chat to Tim Wilson, Managing Director of One Night Records, the first socially distanced immersive live music event and venue to be announced since lockdown began.

Set in a secret venue, the Lockdown Town event series will host individual groups as they embark on a specially curated musical journey with food, drink and a new line up of London’s finest musicians…

We realise you can’t tell us the secret location, but can you give some insight into what sort of things you were considering when choosing somewhere to host the event? 

It had to be somewhere magic enough to welcome some really spectacular music, so acoustics were pretty important.

Room to play in, too – enough room for everyone to feel at ease. I’ve never really enjoyed the crush of live music gigs so the idea of more dispersed enjoyment led us to finding pretty much our dream venue. 

With plenty of Covid-19 restrictions to consider, what steps are you taking to ensure customers will be safe at the event?

Tons. They’re all just as boring and necessary as you would expect. I don’t want this to be like a Matt Hancock Half Hour so check out the website for more details.  It’s safe, safe, safe, and we talk about it every week as the other plans develop. There’s no great mystery to keeping people separate and facilities clean. 

There must have been some unique challenges and discoveries during the planning stage, could you share a few with us?

Er, I always plan for global pandemics and lockdowns?

Yes, the biggest challenge is figuring out how to let the music speak for itself. It’s so rare that you go to the theatre, or see a film, or even look at a painting, without some kind of introduction, or programme, or notes. When’s the last time someone told you about the song you were about to listen to? Music doesn’t need that level of explanation – it’s in your heart – so we’ve really tried to let that ring true throughout the whole experience, rather than parachute on some inappropriate storytelling or narrative. 

We’ve started to see some drive in events and socially distanced park events go on sale, but this is one of the first planned for a venue environment since lockdown. Where did you go for resources and advice?

Government and Public Health England sites for standard precautions, and also – totally honestly – just planning to do everything that big chains, like Wetherspoons for instance, are doing. They’ve paid people huge sums of money to make re-opening safe. Why duplicate that good work? It’s customised to our venue and activity of course, but most of it is common sense. In the end, your common sense is a pretty good indicator of how to keep safe. 

Do you have any predictions for new events trends post lockdown?

Wild, rampant and untameable desire to see live immersive Covid-Safe music in the central London area, met only by One Night Records?

And alongside that, many more site specific productions in all the freshly abandoned office blocks… Perhaps office-based site specific participatory shows titled “A Day’s Work, January 2020”?

Seriously though, I expect cultural funding to plummet, and I hope that this brings a fresh energy for collaborations between big institutions and little operators.