Confusion in Costa Blanca over live music as entertainers are removed from pubs.
AFTER more than a year of lockdown restrictions in Spain, you would think we would be able to answer the simple question of whether we can go to the pub to hear our favourite performer, now that bars and restaurants are back open to a limited degree. However, it seems that things are not quite so straightforward, as several musicians have informed Euro Weekly News that they have been approached by the Local Police and asked to stop playing. So the question remains: are bars on Spain’s Costa Blanca permitted to have live music, assuming all safety precautions are followed? And the answer is… Drum roll please… Nobody is quite certain.
The Official Gazette of the Valencian Community hasn’t altered its wording of the regulations very much since the December 9 edition, where it specified that performances by amateur artists, as well as karaoke and DJs were prohibited. This particular wording seems to have thrown up more questions than answers, with many establishments understanding this to mean that professional artists, registered as such and paying to be autonomo, or self-employed, are permitted to perform.
Needless to say, local performers have been taking to social media to seek clarification and share their experiences. One professional singer in the Cabo Roig area on the Costa Blanca wrote about being approached by an undercover member of the National Police who informed her that she was not allowed to sing on the bar terrace, but if she did, she must wear a mask at all times and stand in the one place. Fans immediately responded in disbelief.
“What do you mean, no singing allowed but you must wear a mask?” one person wrote. “You can either sing or you can’t. The Spanish are as clear as mud sometimes.”
Others quickly pointed out that in their localities, live music hasn’t been permitted for several months, while more people still wondered why the measure hasn’t been clearly communicated. The original poster replied that she had asked the police for the specific piece of legislation prohibiting her from performing, but they couldn’t pinpoint it.
“There is no mention anywhere on the restrictions that say we are not allowed singers, how is anyone meant to make a living when we’re not allowed to do anything,” one angry Facebook user commented.
The confusion doesn’t stop with music either. Table quizzes are a big part of life on Spain’s Costa Blanca, both for fun days out and as a means for raising money for worthy causes. A baffled social media user wrote about a local bar owner who was told his quiz wasn’t allowed, then a day later given the go ahead, by the same authorities.
“An example of total lunacy was something I heard last week when Rojales Town Hall gave an update ruling stating no live music, no quizzes etc and that anyone taking part in a quiz would also be fined! So a bar owner I know went to the town hall and asked them directly about this as he wanted to put a quiz on and didn’t want to be fined, he was told that a quiz is fine with appropriate social distancing!!”
The N332 page, which is made up of Spanish police officers and translators, provides regular updates on local rules and regulations in the Valencian region. They post screenshots of the Officials Gazette as and when it is released, as well as very handy simplified English-language versions. What is abundantly clear is that different towns on the Costa Blanca are interpreting the legislation in different ways, with many officials still giving mixed messages. The best way forward, according to the authorities is to contact the local town hall if in any doubt.