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SORE FINGERS WEEK - LATEST UPDATE DEC 2021

18th Dec 2021

HI FOLKS

Here is a pre-Christmas update to let you know where we are in the grand scheme of things.

We had this ready to send out a week ago but OMICRON has hit us so we had to make some changes to our original text under the COVID section. See below.

Workload and other distractions have prevented us from organising another Advent Calendar but last year’s effort is still up on the website where you can watch them again. The collection got about 8600 views, let’s see if we can crack 10,000!
Here’s the link: https://www.sorefingers.co.uk/adventcal.php.

Just to remind you, the confirmed dates for Easter 2022 are Monday 11th to Friday 15th April, 2022, that’s the week before Easter. Mark the dates in your new 2022 diaries.

OK, let’s bring you up to date:

TUTOR NEWS

All the re-schedules have caused tutor substitutions and later re-instatements of teaching staff. This latest date change worked out favourably and we have been able to get close to the original Tutor line up as was for Easter 2020.
The full list is on the website so I’ll only go through the changes:
Bass is now BEN SOMERS (was Missy Raines)
Mandolin JACK TUTTLE (was David Benedict)
Singing is VAL MINDEL (was Dede Wyland)
Old Time banjo TRAVIS STUART (was Chris Coole)
Beginners group PERCY COPLEY (was Laura and Charlotte Carrivick and John Breese)
All other classes are as they were and bios are on the website
Bookings are open so, if you still haven’t yet booked let us know your intentions for 2022. We’d be most grateful if you could please do so as soon as possible because Easter will be upon us before you know it.

SORE FINGERS AND THE FUTURE

The pandemic has been a real challenge. At the outset, we were placed in a difficult position having made irreversible financial commitments to facilitate the Easter 2020 event.

With little time to re-group in the three week post lockdown announcement window remaining until the first day of S.F.Week 2020, we had to think quickly and make some pretty tough decisions.
As many have realised, we had few options open to us.

We quickly concluded that the only way forward was to work toward ensuring the organisation survived to trade after the pandemic receded.

Although the position has stabilised, recovery begins now and we will be looking for your support over the next couple of years to reset things and get over our losses of the last two years.

We’re not asking for any more than a continuation of your support and loyalty for an event which has been a landmark for the British Bluegrass and Old Time scenes for the past twenty five years.

We all have a collective duty to ensure future generations can benefit from the legacy we have helped to build, and we’ll only achieve it if people are still willing to book for the event and continue to have so much fun playing music and meeting like-minded souls.

WHERE ARE WE AT WITH COVID?

Several months ago, we realised the news and media were not a reliable source of data to make educated decisions about how we manage Sore Fingers Week in relation to the pandemic.


Since late Spring 2021, we have been monitoring statistics published on the Government website which are consistent and do not reflect the mood of a News Editor or politician who’s messaging is tainted by outside factors. We are dealing with real numbers.

Without going into the detail of how we analyse the figures, the main correlation we make is to see if there is progress in beating the virus is by linking the number of infections to the number of serious cases of COVID leading to either hospitalisation or worse.

Currently, the rates of infection have been high, about 37,500 per day since mid July 2020. Despite high numbers of infections the rate at which people succumb to serious disease has dropped by nearly 50% compared to the same period last year.

It’s clear the vaccine is working to protect people and many only develop mild symptoms despite contracting the virus. The stat’s also show most of the serious cases are linked to people who have not taken the vaccine.

Of course, these findings may well be eclipsed by the arrival of Omicron which spreads at an alarming rate with cases more than doubling in the past week.

But, until we can correlate the ratio of infections with serious disease, we cannot draw any conclusions as to whether Omicron is more serious than previous variants. I’s too early to make a judgment as there is a lag between infections and reports of serious consequences.

So, at least for now, we are not changing our plans until meaningful data becomes available. We are not expecting to see anything before middle to end of January 2022.


What isn’t in doubt is that access to Sore Fingers Week next Easter will be subject to access controls which we shall define nearer the time of the event. Be prepared for testing and producing both proof of testing and vaccination.

In line with recently published Live event Industry Best Practice, we will implement mitigation where it protects staff and students from infection. More of that later too.

Rest assured we are monitoring COVID very closely. We care about your well being and will do everything in our power to protect you and run an event as safely as we can.

SUMMER FESTIVALS AND LIVE MUSIC EVENTS IN 2021

We’ve also been attending monthly industry zoom meetings bringing together many prominent UK festival organisers and venue managers to get valuable feedback about some of the main events that went ahead last summer.
There was no evidence of any events leading to widespread COVID infections and this was achieved by some judicious mitigation including audiences asked to prove they and been vaccinated and by testing prior to arrival at the event.
The only festival to receive negative news was the Boardmasters event near Newquay in Cornwall as the result of a local newspaper publishing infection figures for the whole of the Newquay district and attributing them to the festival. Basically, another instance of fake news.

This information has given us confidence for next Easter. All major London theatres are now open with no social distancing. In addition real world experience and feedback will be published for analysis soon.

The Live Music and Festival industry have published a summary of “Best Practice” which we will be adapting to Sore Fingers Week 2022 to make sure we protect everybody as much as we can. More detail about that nearer the time of the event.

On the whole, we have reasons to be optimistic that by next summer, the risk will be much reduced and we can revert to a normal season of festivals and live gigs.

Anyone with any specific questions re COVID Mitigation or requirements for S.F.Week, please email to john@sorefingers.co.uk

AND FINALLY

Have a great Christmas and a Happy New Year….

Best wishes

John & Moira

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