Advice on performances following the death of Her Majesty the Queen
Following the passing of Her Majesty the Queen on Thursday 8 September, we have been receiving questions about performances taking place, including those already scheduled and by those who wish to put on performances in her memory. You can also view our tribute page.
If your performance or the organisation you are working with is funded by one of the UK's arts councils we would urge you to take their advice. Links to each of these organisations can be found below.
Official advice from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) states 'There is no obligation to cancel or postpone events and sporting fixtures, or close entertainment venues during the National Mourning period; this is at the discretion of individual organisations.' While it remains an issue of discretion, it states some businesses may wish to consider closing, particularly on the day of the State Funeral.
You can read the advice in full on the Government website.
Personally scheduled performances
If you are putting on your own concert, you can proceed at your own discretion, and on discussion with other involved parties, such as the venue. If you go ahead, you may wish to include a tribute, for example a minute's silence or an appropriate musical dedication within the programming.
Teaching - Monday 19 September (Bank Holiday for the State Funeral)
It has been announced that Monday 19 September will be a bank holiday to mark the Queen’s funeral. If you usually do not teach on a bank holiday, but you are due to teach on Monday 19 September, then you may be unsure about whether to refund students for lessons on this date.
In this situation, communication and flexibility are key. These are unusual circumstances and it is unlikely that any contract you have in place will deal with the issue of a short-notice bank holiday. You should first decide whether you want to go ahead with teaching on this day, and communicate this to your customers. Many students will have paid up front for the whole term and will be happy to go ahead with lessons on this date, while others may wish to observe the day for mourning. If students do not wish to attend, you should be prepared to reschedule or make special arrangements.
Schools will be closed on Monday 19th September, so if you are a Peri or VMT working in a school, then neither you nor the students will be able to attend lessons on this date. You should aim to reschedule these lessons where possible, as both you and the student are prevented from attending by circumstances beyond either party’s control.
ISM Legal support
Many musicians are questioning the role of force majeure clauses in contracts and how this relates to the mourning period following the Queen’s death. For a force majeure clause to be effective, the circumstances (in this case, the death of a monarch) need to be clearly stated in the contract and it needs to be clear how the circumstances in question have stopped a performance being able to happen.
Therefore, with Government advice stating that events can go ahead, this clause is not effective.
We advise that you do not cancel any events due to the Queen’s death or mourning period as you may be liable for expenses and fees for anyone you have contracted with, such as other musicians, or backstage staff .
If an event a member is performing in as a contractor is cancelled then you should be able to make a claim for loss of revenue, depending on the contract terms – please contact the legal team for advice.
The ISM legal team will also be able to support you if wish to discuss the organisation of fees for concerts in tribute.