Quote"Launching a live music venue in the midst of a global pandemic is not something I'd advise," Pennington says with a wry laugh.
He got the keys to the building in January, before Covid was really on the radar, initially planning to open in April with a capacity of 350. When the government gave the go-ahead for indoor venues to reopen in England with social distancing in August, Pennington didn't want to wait much longer.
As well as hosting gigs, Future Yard will offer training for 16- to 24-year-olds in the live music industry, and rehearsal and recording spaces for new local artists.
"It's just really important that we could get open," Pennington said on Thursday. "That comes with great pressures financially and also operationally, but it's something we feel like we've got to do.
"If we'd just sat here and mothballed and waited to the point where it made absolute financial sense, potentially it could have been years before we opened.
"Our primary motivation is to really think how we can use a venue like Future Yard to be a positive influence for the local community. We're here to use music as a powerful lever for social change. This is a moment when we're needed more than ever, so we just had to find a way of getting open."
One venue that has already opened recently is the NE Volume Bar in Stockton-on-Tees, Teesside, where 32 people can sit at 11 socially-distanced tables. The full capacity should be 110. So far, they have hosted a mixture of singer-songwriters and bands playing stripped-back acoustic sets.
"It's still a good atmosphere," says co-owner Adam Allcock. "People aren't standing up and going wild. Our customer base is quite nice. They're there for the music, so they want to listen to the music anyway. It's all been going fine. No-one's had to be told to settle down or stay in their seat or anything like that."
Mark Davyd, chief executive of the Music Venues Trust, says 84 of the organisation's 900 members have staged some live music so far since lockdown, but just 13 are doing so regularly.
Quote"We don't have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have," Anders Tegnell, the country's chief epidemiologist and architect of its no-lockdown strategy, told broadcaster France-24 in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy.
"In the end, we will see how much difference it will make to have a strategy that's more sustainable, that you can keep in place for a long time, instead of the strategy that means that you lock down, open up and lock down over and over again."
Unlike many countries, Sweden closed schools for the over-16s but kept those for younger pupils open, insisting on full attendance. Schools and universities are now open again.
It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told people over 70 and in at-risk groups to self-isolate.
Otherwise, the population of 10 million was asked, rather than ordered, to respect physical distancing and work from home if possible, which it largely did. Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms stayed open and the wearing of masks has not so far been recommended.
Ingredients: 1 large casserole dish
Place the casserole dish in a cold oven. Place a chair facing the oven and sit in it forever. Think about how hungry you are. When night falls, do not turn on the light.
from The Jean-Paul Sartre Cookbook