Staying Safe on Stage: Practical Advice for Musicians

Staying Safe on Stage: Practical Advice for Musicians
Performing in the environment of COVID-19 will look and feel different. Music Network has compiled the below practical advice to help performing musicians adhere to the latest public health guidelines.

This advice should be read in conjunction with the latest public health recommendations and government guidelines around social distancing, respiratory etiquette, mask wearing and hand washing. It will be updated from time to time in line with current research.

Current government guidelines allow for organised indoor events to take place before 8pm with a maximum of 50% of venue capacity or 1,000 attendees, whichever is the lower. Attendance at outdoor events is limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 attendees, whichever is the lower. See more detail at the link below.


  • Ask for a detailed description of your venue’s health and safety measures and become familiar with the protocols to which you will be expected to adhere
  • Offer your own ideas for health and safety specific to your act
  • Perform your own risk assessment for rehearsal, travel and performance, including measures to minimise risks
  • Keep up to date with the latest scientific knowledge and recommendations, and adapt your risk assessments accordingly
  • Plan for what will happen if a group member falls sick or has to restrict their movements: will you replace the musician or cancel the performance/recording?
  • Prepare an accurate stage plan and send it to your venue in advance, allowing for appropriate distance between performers
  • Check with your venue about how their current protocols (such as cleaning or ventilation) may affect your proposed schedule
  • Agree a programme length with your venue and ask whether or not they recommend an interval. Knowing the length of the programme in advance will help put audiences at ease
  • Come to an understanding with your venue/promoter about financial obligations, refund policy and participation requirements in the event of cancellation or adaptation of the performance/recording due to COVID-19
  • Liaise with your venue about their current policies on the selling of merchandise

Group Rehearsal

  • Use the largest rehearsal space available
  • Review ventilation and airflow in the rehearsal space: make sure that windows and doors are open where possible, and that airflow from mechanical ventilation systems is not being recirculated. For further information on ventilation, see the Arts Council’s Guidelines for the Safe Presentation of Festivals & Live Events.
  • Take frequent breaks to ventilate the room, and maintain social distancing during breaks. Ideally move outside during breaks. If moving to another indoor space for breaks, that space should not be smaller or less well ventilated than the rehearsal space
  • If using a piano, agree a sanitisation procedure with the owner
  • Keep the recommended distance apart from others and be mindful of respiratory etiquette
  • Determine refreshment protocol for rehearsals, e.g. if sharing facilities, practice good hand hygiene.

Performance - live or pre-recorded

  • Stage positioning: don't deviate from the plan agreed in advance with your venue; keep an appropriate distance apart
  • Stage equipment:
    • if you require theatre staff to help load in equipment, smaller items should be sealed in a suitcase which can be wiped down
    • don’t share chairs, mics, mic stands, music stands etc. between performers
    • check that mics have been cleaned/sanitised appropriately since last use
    • after the sound-check, wipe down any equipment that you will touch during the performance
  • If using a hired instrument (e.g. piano), agree protocol for cleaning with the owner
  • Ask for the venue’s procedures regarding artist use of restrooms, green room, dressing rooms etc.

Remember, don’t attend a rehearsal or performance/recording session if you are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.

Gig Bag Checklist

Hand sanitiser
Antibacterial wipes
Bottled water

Updated 20/12/2021