WITH no obvious ending to the coronavirus restrictions on music and events, the County Press asked several Island performers and venues about the future.

Derek Sandy, one of the Island’s highest profile musicians, has found himself stifled since the lockdown began in March.

He said: “I have been able to do one gig, an open air barbecue at Thorness Bay and a small set at Ryde Academy for the GCSE results — and that is it.

“I am concerned for the months ahead, having not entertained the IW, and not being able to return to Tobago to plant my crops, graze animals and rent my apartment to keep myself ticking over.

“I am also concerned next summer is not going to be any different, with people unable to perform again.”

Isle of Wight County Press: The lineup for the 2021 IW Festival has been announcedThe lineup for the 2021 IW Festival has been announced

The IW Festival didn’t take place in 2020, following 16 successive summers at Seaclose Park.

Organisers were quick to confirm a similar line-up for the 2021 summer spectacle, although the Black Eyed Peas and Chemical Brothers are notable by their absence at the moment.

In the absence of festivals, Island venues have utilised social media, streaming services and their own websites in order to share live events.

Isle of Wight County Press: Dirty L'il Secret, who performed at the High Park Tavern in Ryde last weekendDirty L'il Secret, who performed at the High Park Tavern in Ryde last weekend

Del Seymour, Quay Arts manager, said: “With all our live events being rescheduled or even cancelled, we have seen a massive decline in new (shows) being produced.

“We have also seen examples of musicians using the current situation to expand online, with virtual gigs and live streaming.

“The local community has come together to support the Island arts industry — a prime example of this would be the Isolation Row Virtual Folk Festival, which has grown from a weekend fundraising event into a monthly online gathering.”

Isle of Wight County Press: Gengahr were one of the acts scheduled for this year's Ventnor FringeGengahr were one of the acts scheduled for this year's Ventnor Fringe

Quay Arts received a boost this week, as its joint bid with Ventnor Exchange for Culture Recovery Fund support proved successful.

A statement issued by the Exchange said: “With this grant we hope to see both organisations work more closely together to develop the Island’s cultural ecosystem and build greater resilience in uncertain times.

“It includes a direct investment of £30,000 to Ventnor Exchange to protect jobs and allow the reintroduction of a full live programme, adapted to the new guidelines, which would otherwise be unviable.

Ventnor Fringe was postponed in the summer, with organisers hoping the annual event will be able to take place from July 27 to August 1 next year.

Strings in Newport has held socially distanced events in recent months, while Robin Hill hosted a Lucid/Fleetwood Bac double-header on August 30.

Isle of Wight County Press: Space will be performing at Strings in FebruarySpace will be performing at Strings in February

Island musician, Paul Armfield, said: “To abandon our artists, musicians and performers now could have disastrous consequences for the future.

“People saying we should retrain is an insult, it assumes we are limited to artistic endeavours, yet as artists we are necessarily skilled and experienced in many fields including accounting, copywriting, marketing and promotion, and event management.

“Moreover, a developed understanding of the creative process transfers successfully to countless other professions. The creative industries contribute almost £13 million per hour to the UK economy, as well as being our defining area of excellence.”

Main picture of Derek Sandy by Graham Reading Photography.