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Swiss sector pleads for Covid support extension

Survey, carried out on behalf of country's culture taskforce, concludes measures required until end of 2022

By James Hanley on 04 Nov 2021

CTS Eventim's OpenAir St.Gallen is one of many Swiss festivals that have cancelled

Switzerland's OpenAir St.Gallen festival

A report on the Swiss live music and cultural scene has warned that failing to extend support measures beyond the end of 2021 would be “enormously damaging” for the sector.

The survey, carried out by research office Ecoplan, concludes the domestic market is “a long way from normalisation”, with two-thirds (65%) of businesses still reliant on support to get through the next 12 months – prompting calls for the government to extend support measures until the end of 2022.

Published this week, the study was conducted on behalf of the country’s culture taskforce, whose members include representatives of the Swiss Music Promoters Association, the Music Managers Forum, music clubs and festivals association PETZI and Swiss Music Council, SMR, among others.

“Stopping support at the end of the year would be enormously damaging for those still affected and would [waste] the help provided over the past few months,” says the taskforce. “Although the various support systems only cover the bare minimum, they have proven to be effective.”

Despite there being signs of recovery for the market next year, 45% of companies said they expected a turnover of no more than 80% in 2022 compared to pre-Covid levels, while almost a quarter (23%) of respondents reported bookings were down by half.

“Almost three quarters stated that sales in the past year were below 80%, and almost half were even below 40% of the usual figures before corona – circumstances among which companies can hardly survive without support,” adds the taskforce.

We ask parliament to keep the safety nets for our industry… in the hope they will be less needed from month-to-month

“The figures collected in the survey underpin the need for an extension. The results show a slight recovery in the current year, but a cultural establishment like the one it was before the pandemic is not in sight in 2022 either.”

A mooted switch to a system with repayable loans was rejected by members.

“Only 4% of the companies surveyed and 9% of the cultural associations stated that such a system would help them instead of the previous [measures],” it says.

“The culture taskforce, together with the population and the authorities, hopes that this pandemic and its far-reaching consequences will soon be overcome. Now, we ask parliament to keep the safety nets for our industry, which have been functioning well so far… in the hope that they will be less needed from month-to-month.”

Switzerland abolished capacity restrictions on public events over the summer. Since late June, events of more than 10,000 people have been permitted to take place with attendees who can prove they are vaccinated against, have recovered from, or have tested negative for Covid-19.


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