Isle of Man Covid-19 rules give islanders 'definite appetite' for local acts

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A brass band event at the Villa Marina in DouglasImage source, IOM Brass Band Forum
Image caption,
Event organiser Chris Wheldon said people had "missed" going to see bands

The Manx border closure has led to a "revitalised appreciation" for local performers, the arts council has said.

Arts development officer Jane Corkhill said there was a "definite appetite" for Manx performers and some venues had seen sell-out crowds in recent weeks.

Non-residents cannot currently enter the island, except for visitors with an exemption certificate or from Guernsey.

Theatres and music venues were allowed to reopen on the Isle of Man, without social distancing, from 18 June.

The Villa Marina in Douglas, one of the island's largest music facilities, held its first large event on 16 August, a brass band show that saw 120 musicians performing to thank Manx healthcare workers.

Organiser Chris Weldon said people had "missed getting out and going to see bands" during lockdown and it was "good for people to go out and listen to live music".

Image source, Erin Arts Centre
Image caption,
Erin Arts Centre usually hosts shows from international, as well as local, musicians

John Bethall, who runs the Erin Arts Centre in Port Erin, said the venue's first live music event on Sunday had been "well attended" and he was hoping to put "more local artists on the stage" in the coming months.

However, he added that though audiences were back to a pre-pandemic level, the border restrictions preventing international performers travelling to the island meant he could not put on as many shows.

Despite that reduction, Mr Bethall said the venue would "carry on, no question" by relying on screenings of popular movies, past musical productions and donations from the public.

In June, the Isle of Man Arts Council set aside £50,000 for people within the culture and arts industry who had been impacted by the outbreak.

Further funding would be made available "on individual merit" and allocated on 16 October and 11 December, an arts council spokeswoman said.

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