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Drive-in cinemas and Covid-compliant hedonism: welcome to 2021’s summer of arts

As rules begin to relax and venues start to open, the culture industry is preparing for a season like no other

It is difficult to imagine – as we trudge past shuttered cinemas and boarded-up gig venues, theatres still displaying faded posters for 2019’s long-abandoned productions and galleries whose only patrons are security guards – that one day everything will be open again.

Having spent the past year trying to eke cultural value from Joe Wicks’s music selection and the Cajun seasoning of our overpriced recipe kits, we’re now set to re-enter a world where artistic options are only limited by our imagination (also ticket availability and the R number). It’s been such a long time since we’ve been able to share the experience of fun – a state that is likely to feel as novel to us now as it did when we first ventured out into the cultural world as teens. Such an orgy of opportunity is easy to feel overwhelmed by. The proposed date when clubs will reopen and festivals are allowed, 21 June, is being touted as some kind of Dante’s Inferno but with worse litter issues.

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