It's 'unrealistic' to think people will want to go to a gig and not have a beer, arts campaigners have said.
Arts Minister Catherine Martin and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly meeting with campaigners today to examine what options could revive the sector and still keep within COVID-19 guidelines.
The Irish Times reports that alcohol-free music events are being considered by Government as a way of allowing more gigs and concerts to resume.
Angela Dorgan - director of First Music Contact and director of the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) - says it's a good thing that the talk is about saving the sector, although recent confusion about the rules has 'helped nobody'.
She observed: "I think anything that's laying out what the concerns of the Department of Health are is useful to the sector - if serving alcohol is a concern, that's an issue that will have to be brought back to the sector.
"I think it's unrealistic to think people will want to go to a gig and not have a beer."
She said the sector has so far has proven itself "really robust" in its response to COVID-19, introducing measures such as table service so socially distant events can go ahead.
Venues 'rely on bar takes'
Ms Dorgan noted it's "brilliant that Minister Martin is thinking creatively", and that her motivation is to make sure artists and workers in the music sector can get back to work.
However, Ms Dorgan also pointed out that many music venues rely heavily on their bar take to subsidise paying the artist.
She said: "We would have to look at where the alternative income could come, so the venues could survive - a lot of them rely very heavily on their margins for bar takes."
"Maybe we could look at could gigs be 90 minutes like restaurants... could music venues serve drink before the gig like theatres do?
"The venues need coherent rules so they can abide by them - that's what they've done so far."
She said they're looking forward to talking to Minister Donnelly about his concerns.
She also noted that campaigners are proposing a 'green stamp' system for venues, which would allow them to open if they adhere to the rules.