Pub holds ‘silent sessions’ and calls for ‘safe’ return of music

Coronavirus measures were introduced in August which banned music from pubs and restaurants.

Pub holds ‘silent sessions’ and calls for ‘safe’ return of music Getty Images

A traditional Scottish folk music pub has called for venues to be given the chance to play music after holding “silent sessions” to highlight the impact restrictions have had on the industry.

Coronavirus measures were introduced in August which banned music from pubs and restaurants to avoid people transmitting the virus with raised voices.

Before the pandemic, Captains Bar in Edinburgh held live acoustic events regularly, but has seen its custom massively affected by the restrictions.

Landlady Pamela Macgregor has since held “silent sessions” at her pub and is now calling on the Scottish Government to give the industry a chance to bring back music “safely” – once pubs are allowed to reopen.

She said: “I totally understand the reasons for not playing music, it’s just gone a little too daft.

“We had a few people inside and everyone was talking about how we couldn’t play music.

“Someone was joking and saying we should mime instead.

“They were all distanced between themselves, sitting at different tables in the bar – completely safe, having a laugh.

“We were actually laughing louder than we would have been if we were singing.”

It comes as traditional Scottish music representatives have raised fears about the impact restrictions on performing with others have had on the culture.

Sessions involve musicians playing tunes together, often sitting in small spaces such as pubs, acting as a social event as well.

Ms Macgregor claims the restrictions have had an impact on people’s mental health as the events would also act as a way to meet people.

She said: “People are really, really missing it – missing the company, the chance to talk and laugh and listen to music.

“Without music, we are nothing.

“I think the rules are too tough, they need to just say we can play music if you do it safely – with a screen or at a distance.

“If we are going to get through this, we need the pleasures of life to keep us going.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We don’t want the restrictions in place for any longer than is needed, but the measures are in place for good reason: the advice remains that hospitality premises should have no live music, no background music or volume from TVs because of the increased risk of transmission from aerosol and droplets when people raise their voices.

“This measure is being kept under review.”