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Renewed calls for UK festival tariff

Participants at the Free and Public Events Roundtable called for a festival-specific PRS tariff for British festivals, similar to that of the IMRO in Eire

By IQ on 07 Jun 2016

Gold Panda, Sŵn Festival 2009, Mike Mantin

Gold Panda at Sŵn Festival 2009


image © Mike Mantin

There were renewed calls for a music festival-specific PRS tariff at a meeting of British promoters of free events in April.

At the Free and Public Events Roundtable (part of Eventbrite’s Free series of exhibitions and discussions), which brought together representatives from Notting Hill Carnival, Sŵn Festival, Green Man Festival, the Southbank Centre, Transport for London, Pride in London, St John’s Ambulance, Royal Parks, the Association of Independent Festivals and Artichoke Productions, one attendee suggested the need for a festival tariff “which recognises that music isn’t 100% of the festival, because you have other entertainment, car parking, camping and other things you’re charging for”.

PRS for Music (formerly the Performing Rights Society) is currently reviewing its live music tariff, and the Association of Independent Festivals is backing a tariff tailored towards festivals. The situation in the UK was compared with the Republic of Ireland, where the Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) already has an established festival tariff.

Other topics discussed at the roundtable included:

Licensing

  • Attendees urged preparation for licence applications. A transport official urged promoters to present their pitch with the “utmost professionalism”: “Think Dragon’s Den and the process will be more efficient in the long run”
  • The consensus was that safety measures need to be seen as a protection and never a burden

Funding

  • Participants encouraged event organisers to work with sponsors with shared goals and urged for better communications between both parties in order to ensure a “flourishing partnership”
  • Attendees stressed the need for effective integration, saying brands need to contribute to areas such as security, stewarding and cleaning if their activities impact the festival as a whole
  • On the contrary, some event organisers highlighted the benefits of forgoing sponsorship, not least because it can create a point of difference

Competition

  • Participants called for event organisers to embrace competition in order to keep free events exciting and innovative – one said: “Evolution keeps us on our toes creatively”

The report can be downloaded in full from the Eventbrite website.