Hamburg venues allowed to ban unvaccinated fans
Promoters and venues in Hamburg can soon ban unvaccinated people from attending events, in order to do away with social distancing and increase capacity limits.
Germany on Monday (23 August) moved to a uniform Covid health pass system which allows entry to many public spaces only to people who’ve been vaccinated (geimpft), have recovered from Covid (gensesen) or have been tested against Covid (getestet) – otherwise known as the 3G model.
But on Tuesday (24 August), the Hamburg senate announced that, from Saturday 28 August, it will introduce a ‘2G-option model’ for event organisers and business owners in the federal state.
This means they can allow entry exclusively to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months. The employees of the cultural institutions also have to be vaccinated at 2G events.
Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 for indoor events and 2,000 for outdoor.
In addition, organisers and attendees of 2G events will not need to adhere to certain Covid regulations such as social distancing. However, masks will remain compulsory in all indoor settings.
Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 indoorand 2,000 outdoor
The senate says operators will face fines of up to €20,000 if they do not check for proof of vaccination or recovery (or a negative test if it’s a 3G event), in conjunction with photo ID.
Organisers can also opt for the 3G model but if they do, they will have to follow previous Covid restrictions, such as capacity restrictions.
The 2G or 3G option is aimed at music venues, theatres, cinemas, trade fair operators, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other businesses.
Organisers of sporting events with visitors, public festivals or educational courses should also be able to exclude unvaccinated people if they want to, says the Hamburg senate.
The only exceptions to the 2G rule will apply to children and young people. All under-18s will be allowed to attend 2G events without full vaccination for a grace period.
“Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic”
For 12 to 18-year-olds, who have been urged to get vaccinated, the transitional period will expire in six weeks. For children under 12, for whom no vaccine has been approved, it will continue to apply.
A spokesperson for the Hamburg senate says there are no exceptions for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons because they “are generally at high risk of infection and should avoid crowds”.
Hamburg’s first mayor, Peter Tschentscher, says: “Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic.”
However, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) argues that the 2G model alone is not a “viable solution” as the industry cannot afford to “do without almost half of its clientele”.
The association has proposed a variation of the model – ‘2G+PCR’ – which would also allow entry to those who show a negative PCR test – a more reliable, but expensive and time-consuming, option than rapid testing.
BDKV is now urging the government to implement its suggested model in order to do away with capacity restrictions nationwide.
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Germany finally launches €2.5bn fund for culture
The federal cabinet of the German government has finally launched a fund of €2.5 billion dedicated to supporting cultural events. Details of the fund, first announced last December, were spelt out during a joint press conference held yesterday (26 May) by Olaf Scholz, minister of finance, and Monika Grütters, minister of state for culture and media.
Divided in two supporting strands, the special fund should enable concerts, theatre performances, cinema shows and other cultural events to start up again. At €1.9bn, the biggest tranche is dedicated to compensating financial losses for live events held under capacity in order to meet Covid-19 restrictions. A further €600 million is allocated for an insurance fund to cover losses incurred by the cancellation of events and shows which are called off due to the pandemic.
Scholz, in his position as minister of finance, is the main originator of the fund. Politically this is a notable move, as the development of such a tailor-made measure would usually be the responsibility of either the state ministry for culture or the ministry of economic affairs.
In fact, political manoeuvring behind the scenes is one of the reasons why it took so long for the fund to be officially launched. Finally, after the intervention of the Federal Chancellery, it is Monika Grütters who now takes the lead on a steering committee for the fund. The administration and financial handling of the fund has been transferred towards the culture ministries of the German states.
While the main terms and conditions of the core elements of the fund are already defined and agreed, there are some minor details still under development.
From September onwards, promoters of events with more than 2,000 visitors are able to access the insurance element of the special fund
The biggest chunk is dedicated to providing economic aid for promoters in the cultural sector. This tool is expected to be launched from July onwards and last until the end of the year. Starting first with events up to a capacity of 500 people, promoters can apply to receive compensation for unsold tickets when the number of attendees is reduced by at least 20% due to pandemic restrictions. For each ticket sold, the organisers receive the same ticket price again as a subsidy.
From the beginning of August, promoters of events up to 2,000 people are also eligible to benefit from the fund. In the case of very strict hygiene requirements and a limit on the number of participants up to 25% of maximum capacity, the subsidy may increase to the amount of twice the ticket revenue. However, the subsidy is limited to €100,000 per event.
From September onwards, promoters of events with more than 2,000 visitors are able to access the insurance element of the special fund. In the case of a cancellation, a reduction in the number of participants, or a postponement of the show due to the pandemic, the cancellation fund will cover a maximum of 80% of the cancellation costs incurred. The maximum amount of compensation is €8m per event.
Promoters are asked to register their events upfront on a central online portal, which will be created operated by official sources in Hamburg. A central help desk for information and consultation will be located in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Closely involved in previous consultations regarding the development of the fund have been, among others, Dr Carsten Brosda, senator for culture in Hamburg; Wolfgang Schmidt, state secretary in the ministry of finance; Alexander Schulz, managing director of Reeperbahn Festival; and Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio and board member of the German promoters’ association, BDKV.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
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German associations react to gov’s vaccine promise
The German event industry is calling for an autumn restart following chancellor Angela Merkel’s promise of a Covid-19 vaccine for all residents by 21 September 2021.
“If events after 21 September are made dependent on attendees showing a vaccination certificate, it is not clear to the Forum what should stop a 100% opening of German venues from 21 September,” the letter reads.
“It is not clear to the Forum what should stop a 100% opening of German venues from 21 September”
“Most organisers have relocated their events for the third time since March 2020, which are already on sale for the autumn of this year. If these events could again only be carried out with social distancing rules and thus only uneconomically, the companies will not survive even with the various generous offers of help.”
The Forum reminds the chancellor that she was presented with its Manifest Restart proposal at the beginning of February, ‘under which a gradual and safe reopening of events should be possible before 21 September’.
September is also when Germany’s delayed €2.5 billion event cancellation scheme is due to start, though IQ understands that the industry is pessimistic about the commencement in the midst of September elections.
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German associations criticise gov’s exit strategy
Event Management Forum, an alliance that comprises Germany’s five associations for the events industry, has slammed the federal government for a ‘lack of perspective’ for the sector in the newly announced reopening strategy.
Yesterday (3 March), the German government announced that the country’s lockdown would be extended by three weeks until 28 March but for the first time, Angela Merkel’s cabinet has revealed a reopening plan which will depend on the regional infection rate.
Live music venues, theatres and opera houses may only reopen in step four, when the seven-day incidence rate has stayed below 50 per 100,000 inhabitants for at least 14 days, no earlier than 22 March.
In the meantime, from 8 March, book shops, florists and garden centres will be allowed to reopen as long as strict hygiene measures are in place. Many primary students returned to school last week.
Olaf Zimmermann, MD of the German Cultural Council, says: “The development of the incidence value will decide in the next few weeks whether and under what conditions cultural institutions are allowed to open. This shows a first way out of the lockdown for bookshops, museums, galleries, memorials, cinemas, theatres as well as concert and opera houses.”
“Simply postponing the promised perspective for the event industry to the end of March is not acceptable for the industry”
Culture minister, Monika Grütters, says: “Art is indispensable, it is a source of inspiration and irritation, reflection and innovation. Culture finally brings people out of their domestic isolation. That is why culture must be taken into account in all opening debates from the start. Cultural institutions were the first to close, you mustn’t be the last to open again now.”
Event Management Forum – which recently presented a comprehensive roadmap for Germany’s return to live music – says: “It is incomprehensible that, contrary to the announced cross-sector opening strategy, only a few sub-segments are initially promised openings. Only by creating uniform framework conditions can the cultural and economic standstill be ended and trust rebuilt.
“Simply postponing the promised perspective for the event industry to the end of March is not acceptable for the industry. Politicians still fail to recognise that events often have lead times from a few months to a year or longer. An opening plan until Easter is therefore not a prospect.”
“The event industry has been in a lockdown for a year. Unlike in many areas of the economy, there was no real opening in the last year. Therefore, in addition to planning the restart, the extension and adaptation of the aid measures beyond summer 2021 must now also be discussed.”
The alliance groups BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry), venue association LiveKomm (LiveMusikKommission), EVVC (European Association of Event Centres), the ISDV (community of interests of independent service providers in the event management ) and VPLT (The Association for Media and Event Technology).
The alliance hopes to take its roadmap, titled Manifest Restart, to the federal government.
Jens Michow: German gov plans to delay insurance
The German federal government is planning to postpone its insurance scheme for event organisers, according to Jens Michow, the managing president of Germany’s live association, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV).
The €2.5 billion indemnity scheme, announced in December 2020, was due to launch in the second half of this year and would allow organisers to plan for Q3 and Q4 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.
But according to Michow, who has been acting as a consultant to the German government on the implementation of the scheme, the federal ministry of finance wants to postpone the commencement date as it’s not yet clear when events can be held fully again.
However, he reassured ‘critics’ that the fund would be launch eventually, writing in a Facebook post: “To all critics of German support politics: take me by my word, the default fund will exist! And possibly even longer than originally planned.”
“Take me by my word, the default fund will exist! And possibly even longer than originally planned”
Michow recently told IQ about the considerations, logistics and hurdles that had to be overcome in order to implement the insurance fund in one of Europe’s largest live music markets. Read the Q&A here.
The BDKV chief has also been busy working with the Event Management Forum on a proposal detailing a uniform approach to the gradual and safe reopening of events in Germany.
The alliance, which also includes live music association Live Komm, published the ‘Manifest Restart’ proposal last week, which includes an ‘approval matrix’ to help organisers and authorities determine in which risk levels, under which general and special measures of infection protection and hygiene, and with which capacities events are permitted.
Last week, the German government announced that it would continue a partial lockdown to curb the coronavirus pandemic until at least 7 March.
German alliance unveils roadmap for return to live
German alliance Event Management Forum (EMF) has presented a proposal titled ‘Manifest Restart’ which details a uniform approach to the gradual and safe reopening of events in Germany.
The Alliance – which consists of five major organisations including live music associations BDKV and LiveKomm – has devised an ‘approval matrix’ to help organisers and authorities determine in which risk levels, under which general and special measures of infection protection and hygiene, and with which capacities events are permitted.
The comprehensive matrix takes into account a range of nuances in venues such as different construction methods, special features of event formats or existing ventilation systems.
The alliance presented Manifest Restart during a press conference yesterday (9 February) in which Jens Michow, president of the BDKV, emphasised that the goal of the matrix is to make events “the safest place in the pandemic”.
“The industry has shown in the past year that events can be implemented safely. With the following suggestions we show the way to a step-by-step achievement of this goal and finally create a perspective for the industry again,” the proposal reads.
“With the following suggestions we show the way to a step-by-step achievement of [implementing events safely]”
EMF’s proposal also calls for the government to: compensate losses caused by capacity restrictions, fund the costs of SARS-CoV-2 tests and the personnel and logistics required to carry them out, and reimburse the costs of rescheduling and cancelling events.
The alliance has also said that it is necessary that domestic and foreign artists, ensembles, orchestras, bands and their accompanying staff have basic freedom to travel and quarantine, and that “cultural work” is an acceptable reason for this.
The EMF – which is completed by EVVC (European Association of Event Centres), the ISDV (community of interests of independent service providers in the event management ) and VPLT (The Association for Media and Event Technology) – hopes to take the Manifest Restart proposal and matrix to the federal government.
The government is currently consulting with BDKV’s Jens Michow on how to implement Germany’s €2.5 billion event cancellation fund.
Michow recently spoke to IQ about the considerations, logistics and hurdles to overcome in setting up an insurance fund for one of Europe’s largest live music markets.
Jens Michow on Germany’s event cancellation fund
In December 2020, the German federal government set a precedent for the European live music industry with the announcement of the biggest event cancellation fund yet.
The €2.5 billion government-backed insurance pot, which will allow event organisers to plan for Q3 and Q4 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak, was the second of its kind after Austria unveiled a €300m ‘protective umbrella’ in October, in what was believed to be a world first.
Similar guarantee funds have been set up in Switzerland and the Netherlands, while other nations including the UK and Denmark are lobbying for the same, especially with the European festival season round the corner.
While Germany is one step closer to a financially viable return to live, there is still a myriad of logistically challenging decisions to be made in a relatively short amount of time, Jens Michow tells IQ.
The managing president of Germany’s live association, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), has been acting as a consultant to the German government on the implementation of the insurance fund. Here, he tells IQ about the considerations, logistics and hurdles to overcome in setting up an insurance fund for one of Europe’s largest live music markets.
The German government initially said it would like to reimburse all costs associated with cancellations in the second half of 2021. Is that still the plan?
JM: Although details are not secure yet, the government plans to reimburse the major share of all costs for future cultural events cancelled due to the pandemic. Additionally, they plan to cover the disadvantage organisers have if the government impose a capacity limit on venues.
So, for example, if you sold out a show with 1,000 people but later on you’re only allowed to get 250 people in the venue, the government will make up the difference. However, this “economic bonus”, as it will be called, will be limited to smaller events only. And, as I was informed today, it will only occur to events which are planned after this program has been announced.
Will there be a minimum capacity requirement for events to be covered by insurance?
As it looks now: no. Though, the ‘economic bonus’ shall be reserved for smaller events up to 1,000 people. The cancellation coverage is planned for all events, however with a certain limit, which has to be decided upon now.
“If all the events that have already shifted twice have to be cancelled again, then we might need the full €2.5bn”
How did the government estimate €2.5bn for the fund?
They made an admirable lot of investigation. As the fund is reserved only for cultural events which take place till the end of the year, it should be sufficient in my point of view. We are hoping that after such a long time, events finally will take place as they are planned. Maybe when the weather gets hotter in July, even some festivals may take place. We just hope that the British variant of Covid doesn’t arrive in Germany and that we don’t have the same situation as in Britain over here. If all the events that have already shifted twice – from last spring to this spring and then to this autumn – have to be cancelled again, then we might need the full €2.5bn but who knows.
Who will be responsible for granting and distributing any pay-outs?
Obviously, the necessary administration still will have to be established. We require that the system is planned as a common security coverage. We propose that a promoter announces his show in advance in order to be secured. Should the security event happen, the promoter must prove his costs. We also want to make sure that he is obliged to pay the fees to all of the service companies he charged so that everybody who suffers a damage due to the cancellation finally gets reimbursed.
“We’re very proud of our federal system but for the event industry it’s actually a big problem”
In Switzerland, each canton is responsible for distributing funds to its own region. Would the German gov consider doing the same thing with its federal states?
I think the same will happen here; there will be no central office and the federal states will be tasked with taking care of the administration and distributing. If that’s the case, I hope the states are informed as soon as possible so they can prepare themselves.
Would varying levels of restrictions in the federal states complicate this?
That’s a general issue since the beginning of the pandemic: every state does its own thing and has different regulations. One state might say, ‘we have loose regulations and a low Covid incidence rate so shows can happen’. And a couple of kilometres away, another state is saying ‘our Covid rate is high, we have to shut everything down’. We’re very proud of our federal system but for the event industry it’s actually a big problem. As long as we don’t have the same regulations all over the country, it will be impossible to organise tours.
“As long as we don’t have the same regulations all over the country, it will be impossible to organise tours”
If you plan a tour, where would you apply for the coverage – in every single town?
No. It must be possible to apply for the coverage in the town where you are based. If you have to apply in 14 different states, that would be a nightmare. If you don’t have the chance to apply in the first state the tour is taking place and then you have to apply in all the other states…that would be impossible.
What do you think the market will look like in Q3 and Q4?
The fact is that, besides the festivals, more or less 100% of that which could take place till the end of the year is already planned. If you try to get a venue in this country for September/October, you won’t get it because they’re already booked up by promoters who shifted their date from spring to autumn in order to give the people who have already bought a ticket the show they paid for. The time to offer ticket buyers the show they’re owed is getting shorter and shorter because we are not allowed to do it at the moment… Another big question is: when will international artists be allowed to enter Germany without a quarantine period of 14 days?
“Germany should be proud to have politicians who care about the event industry”
Is it likely there’ll be an extension to the scheme?
We have to have something that lasts longer because organisers are planning now for 2022 and 2023 and nobody knows whether the pandemic will be gone by then. And if not, nobody will take the risk that their show will be cancelled.
When do you expect the government to make all of these decisions?
Germany should be proud to have politicians who care about the event industry. For months, I’ve participated day after day in Zoom discussions and other talks with politicians. They are really trying to help us as best as they can and we already achieved a lot.
Regarding the security scheme… they know we needed it yesterday. At the moment, all help was needed yesterday. But the politicians are totally aware of the pressure, which we are under due to the fact, that under the actual circumstances we are unable to prepare anything. They know that we must decide whether we’ll have to shift dates again. It’s the same thing for the festival organisers because you can’t decide in May that you’re going to do a festival in June.
Hopefully we’ll have something concrete within the next few weeks. The ministries are really focused on this. I mean, let’s face it, politicians are not promoters. They’re trying to understand our business. They’re trying to get adapted to all these bits and pieces, before they say ‘okay, let’s go’ – that’s difficult enough.
German event assocs latest to form umbrella group
Germany’s five associations for the events industry, including live music bodies BDKV and LiveKomm, have formed the Event Management Forum, formally recognising months of cooperation during the coronavirus crisis.
BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry) and venue association LiveKomm (LiveMusikKommission) join independent suppliers’ organisation ISDV, pro-AV group VPLT and the European Association of Event Centres (EVVC) as the five founding partners of the Event Management Forum, or Forum Veranstaltungswirtschaft in German.
“As industry associations, we have the job of taking the interests of our members into the political decision-making process and working to optimise the legal framework,” says BDKV head Jens Michow. “The joint formation as a forum for the event management industry will give this work more clout in the future, and give all members of our associations a better voice in government.”
Timo Feuerbach (pictured), managing director of EVVC, adds: “The past few months have shown that politicians see us as a central and legitimate point of contact. We want to represent this sustainably by founding the Event Management Forum and communicate it more strongly to the outside world.”
The formation of the Event Management Forum follows similar initiatives to unite the entire events business in other countries this year, including Finland and the UK.
“The past few months have shown that politicians see us as a central and legitimate point of contact”
In Finland, the recently formed Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) runs the gamut of the sector, with its membership including concert businesses, convention centres, production companies, trade fair organisers, freelancers and more.
According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.
In the UK, meanwhile, the One Industry One Voice campaign brings together the UK Live Music Group with the Business Visits and Events Partnership, which represents the conference, exhibition and outdoor events sector, and events and entertainment technology trade association Plasa (Professional Lighting and Sound Association).
It also has representatives from the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), which represents the night-time economy, the Events Industry Forum (EIF), representing outdoor events, What About Weddings, representing the weddings sector, and the PSA, the trade association for live event production companies and freelancers.
Music Industry Forum: German assocs present united front
Six industry associations, including live sector bodies BDKV and LiveKomm, have joined forces to create Germany’s first pan-music industry grouping.
Dubbed the Music Industry Forum (Forum Musikwirtschaft), the new alliance comprises the BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry), venue association LiveKomm (LiveMusikKommission), DMV (German Music Publishers’ Association), VUT (Association of Independent Music Companies), SOMM (Society of Music Merchants) and recording industry body BVMI (Federal Association of the Music Industry).
While the Music Industry Forum is not a formal umbrella body (in the vein of UK Music or Spain’s Esmúsica), the six partners say the challenges posed by the coronavirus crisis have made them realise the need for a collective voice of the German music industry.
“We live in a time of solidarity and alliances, and also in a time when we have all recognised that acting together brings more than working individually,” explains BDKV head Jens Michow (pictured), speaking to MusikWoche. “The music industry has never spoken with one voice before now, and it is a great achievement to be able to do on issues that affect us all.”
“The music industry has never spoken with one voice before”
VUT managing director Jörg Heidemann says working together will allow the music industry to present a united front to government. Usually, he says, “we are too business-focused for the BKM [ministry of culture and media] and too culture-oriented for the ministry of economic affairs, so we are sent back and fourth between them without ever really getting a foot in the door.”
Among the first priorities for the Music Industry Forum will be to organise a joint conference and prepare research on the German music industry.
Despite launching amid the Covid-19 pandemic, SOMM’s Daniel Knöll says he hopes the partnership will “continue to exist even after the corona era”.
“We have all identified numerous topics where we have the same objectives, even under more normal conditions,” he explains, “and we will be able to increase the political pressure if we permanently pool the strengths of these six business associations.”
German gov pledges €80m for festivals and concerts
The German federal government has committed €80 million to organisers of music concerts and festivals from its €1bn Restart Culture programme.
The 12-month Neustart Kultur (‘Restart Culture’) stimulus package includes a total of €150m earmarked for music, with this initial €80m dedicated to events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021.
The funding is the latest piece of good news for German concert professionals, coming after reports that Germany is likely to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme to 24 months – a proposal that has the backing of the chancellor, Angela Merkel.
This is the result of the negotiations that have been ongoing since the beginning of July between the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) and the Ministry of State for Culture and the Media.
“While the funding programme is far from being sufficient to fill the financial holes that the organisers have incurred in the last six months, and which unfortunately will only increase in the coming months, it will at least ensure a certain basic guarantee of the industry’s ongoing attempts to get back to normal,” says Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV).
“This will at least ensure a certain basic guarantee of the industry’s ongoing attempts to get back to normal”
For events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021, the current programme provides organisers with funding of between €75,000 and €800,000 of future event costs. Festival organisers can receive up to €250,000.
The maximum amount depends on the average number of events and visitors in the years 2017–2019, as well as the average turnover from cultural events within Germany.
Artist management and agents have so far not benefitted from the funding programme, despite being explicitly mentioned as recipients of aid in the Restart Culture programme. Applications will open on 7 September and will be processed through Initiative Musik, the German funding and export office for musicians and music companies.
The Restart Culture package recently announced €27m for small and medium-sized stages, based on the capacity of the space. Complementary funding with other federal funding programs is possible. Applications open on 27 August.
Currently, major events in Germany are banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.