Irish singer Van Morrison has appealed for his fellow performers to reject the "pseudo-science" around the coronavirus and 'save live music' following the recent introduction of new restrictions on concerts.
In a post on his official website, the veteran Belfast singer, who celebrates his 75th birthday this Monday, condemned socially distanced gigs as not "economically viable", and said that venues should be allowed to re-open and operate at full capacity despite the pandemic.
In a strongly worded statement, entitled "Save Live Music", Morrison said: "As you know, we are doing socially distanced gigs at Newcastle Upon Tyne's Gosforth Park, Electric Ballroom and The London Palladium. This is not a sign of compliance or acceptance of the current state of affairs, this is to get my band up and running and out of the doldrums. This is also not the answer going forward. We need to be playing to full capacity audiences going forward.
"I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this.
"Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak up.
"Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and myself appear to be the only people in the music business trying to get it back up and running again. Come forward.
"It’s not economically viable to do socially distanced gigs. Come forward now, the future is now."
There have been signs of green shoots in Ireland's live music scene over recent weeks but after days of confusion over the immediate future of live gigs, the Government sough to clarify issues around the number of people who are permitted to attend concerts during the pandemic.
Irish musicians feared that their shows would have to be postponed when it was announced that indoor gatherings were to be reduced to six people.
The issue was clarified by the Department of the Arts last Wednesday when it announced that organisations like galleries, cinemas and theatres were 'controlled environments' where social distancing could be maintained and could host events with 50 people inside and 200 in the open.
However, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said in an interview that all indoor events were to be limited to six attendees and his department subsequently issued a statement saying that although cinemas and galleries could operate with 50 socially distanced people, theatres could not.
The National Campaign for the Arts has questioned why music venues, who introduce adequate social distancing measures and other public health precautions, can't be allowed to open on the same basis as theatres.