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Prodiss blasts treatment of French live sector

Standing concerts have been banned in France as part of fresh Covid measures, with seated events limited to 5,000 capacity

By James Hanley on 10 Jan 2022

Prodiss is hoping to hold a test concert in a venue such as Zenith in Paris

Zenith Paris

Prodiss has told the French government “words of support can no longer be enough” after the country’s performing arts sector was again hit by Covid restrictions.

Standing concerts have been banned as part of fresh measures announced on 27 December, with indoor seated events limited to 2,000 capacity and outdoor gatherings restricted to 5,000 people. Nightclubs will also remain closed until further notice.

In response, the live music association has united with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the crisis in early 2020.

“We want to work with visibility on future measures and long-term support”

“[For] two years this sector has lived to the rhythm of ‘stop and go’, which in reality has become ‘stop and stop’,” says a joint statement. “Culture can no longer be the adjustment variable for a political discourse steeped in symbols.

“Faced with this crisis, which is no longer cyclical but now structural and systemic, we want to work with visibility on future measures and long-term support.”

In a column published by Le Figaro, the groups claim the industry has been “sacrificed” by the authorities, who they accuse of lacking “vision and ambition”.

“Professionals in this sector have been trying to survive for almost two years now, sometimes clinging to optimistic announcements from the government,” it says. “But the long-awaited revival is now moving away a little further for them every day. The sector is getting bogged down, losing its teams and talents: the job not only makes people dream, it scares people.

“The latest government announcements of 27 December are a further blow to the performing arts… The French now consider the act of buying a show ticket as a risk.”

“What we finally want is long-term support. We need to plan for 2030 and not for three weeks”

The statement suggests the latest measures disregard the findings from last year’s test concert in France, which showed that attending shows posed no increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed. The clinical trial, organised by Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’, took place on 29 May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine.

“Last-minute trial and error responses must now give way to anticipated, concerted responses, and above all guided by a course, a vision,” it continues. “We are now the only ones to assume our financial risks in the face of cancellation and postponement costs, consuming our liquidity even before being able to find a serene climate which does not arrive.

“What we want is to work, with visibility, on the measures to come. But above all, what we want is medium-term visibility, allowing a lasting recovery of our activities.

“What we finally want is long-term support. Two years is a long time for culture. We need a plan for 2030. And not for three weeks. What we want, in short, is a little ambition and vision for the show, which brings together and transcends classes and generations in the face of the temptation to withdraw that threatens us.”


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