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Irish cos receive funding from €5m support scheme

Aiken Promotions, Pod Festivals, MPI Artists and Body & Soul Festival are among the 58 concert businesses to benefit from Ireland’s new Live Performance Support Scheme, which aims to enable promoters, producers and venues plan to live performances in the coming months.

Catherine Martin, the Republic of Ireland’s minister for culture and the arts, announced the beneficiaries of the scheme today (2 November), with an announcement from her office explaining that the €5 million fund will allow “commercial organisers of live performances to commence preparations immediately and productions to go ahead, with either a live audience or to share content through streaming”.

Recipients of the funding range including concert and festival promoters, theatre and pantomime producers, and venues of all sizes, with individual grants ranging from €10,000 to €400,000.

“I am very conscious of the unprecedented nature of the challenge facing the live performance sector, not least from a financial point of view, and accordingly I’m very pleased to announce this funding allocation, which I’m sure will greatly assist in the employment of performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector,” comments Martin.

“This scheme helps to de-risk the costs of running productions that may be postponed, cancelled or curtailed”

“I was also delighted to recently announce €50 million in support for the sector in [the] budget 2021, which will encompass a range of supports for live entertainment events to take place in venues next year across the country, and other measures to support music, and a new grant scheme for equipment.”

The Live Performance Support Scheme is similar to recent measures announced in Austria, where the government is acting as a guarantor for concerts, though the Irish scheme is paying out grants up front, rather than if/when a show is cancelled.

“This scheme, designed after consultation with the sector, helps to de-risk the costs of running productions that may be postponed, cancelled or curtailed due to restrictions to safeguard public health,” adds Martin. “The live events sector was one of the first to close and I want to ensure that it will be supported and there once again for musicians, artists and performers.”

A full list of recipients of the funding is available from the Republic of Ireland government website.

Irish promoters told IQ last week that while the live music industry is grateful for the €50m support package, it still needs clarification about when events may return in 2021.


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Festivals cancelled as Ireland outlaws events over 5k

The Republic of Ireland’s major summer festivals, including Longitude, All Together Now, Life Festival, Body & Soul and the new-for-2020 Sunstroke, have been called off after the Irish government confirmed there would there would be no licences issued for events over 5,000 people until the end of August.

A statement issued by the Irish prime minister (taoiseach), Leo Varadkar, says while licensing decisions in Ireland are usually reserved for local councils, local authorities “have been advised by government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licences in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August”.

MCD Productions, which promotes Longitude (3–5 July) and Sunstroke (13–14 June), as well as Electric Picnic on 4–6 September, says while it is “obviously devastated” Longitude isn’t going ahead, “the health and safety of our fans and staff is paramount and we fully respect the government’s decision. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the frontline workers currently giving their all to keep us safe.”

Longitude’s 2020 line-up featured headliners Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Asap Rocky, along with Mabel, Young Thug, J Hus and Charli XCX.

As for Electric Picnic, MCD head Denis Desmond says: “It’s a long shot. The chances of it happening are not good.”

“The health and safety of our audience, team and performers takes total precedence at this time of global crisis”

Restrictions on major events are also in place in the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September; GermanyBelgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August; and Luxembourg and Finland, which have prohibited mass gatherings until 31 July. France, meanwhile, has given mid-July as the earliest date when events could go ahead, while Austria has identified the end of June.

The restrictions across Europe are in line with the latest European Union guidance.

“Like everyone across the world, we’ve been watching the ongoing effects that Covid-19 is having on our everyday lives,” say All Together Now (31 July–2 August) organisers Pod Concerts and Aiken Promotions, which had booked Iggy Pop, Lauryn Hill, Mura Masa, Goldfrapp and more for its third edition. “The health and safety of our audience, team and performers, plus the extended communities to which they belong, takes total precedence at this time of global crisis.

“Being ‘All Together’ has never been more poignant. While for now, we can’t be together physically, we must be together in spirit by following HSE [Health Service Executive] and government guidelines [and] supporting frontline staff, our local communities, independent businesses and artists who need our support more than ever.”

Avril Stanley, promoter and festival director of Body & Soul (19–21 June), says: “While we may not be able to gather in person this summer, we are with you in spirit. We’re not going anywhere.”


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