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‘Live Aid’ post-Covid concerts proposed for EU

EU culture ministers have reportedly welcomed proposals for a series of simultaneous Live Aid-style concerts which would be held across the European Union to mark victory over Covid-19.

The idea received a “warm reception” from other EU culture and media secretaries when it was proposed by Catherine Martin, the Republic of Ireland’s minister for tourism, culture, arts, Gaeltacht, sport and media, at a pre-Christmas meeting, according to RTÉ.

Following positive feedback from her counterparts in the 26 other member states, further discussions will take place both in Ireland and at an EU level when the current restrictions begin to ease, the Irish state broadcaster reports.

According to the Irish Mirror, Martin’s plan would see a series of concerts featuring “top rock and pop stars” held simultaneously in a number of EU capitals this summer.

Martin’s plan would see a series of concerts held simultaneously in EU capitals this summer

Like the 1985 Live Aid benefit concert, the shows would also be televised, and could include a charitable element in aid of music professionals whose work has dried up amid ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Luke O’Neill, professor of biochemistry at Trinity College Dublin, says he believes it is possible to have around 50% of the Republic of Ireland’s population immunised against Covid-19 by June. Neighbouring Britain, meanwhile, aims to have offered the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to every UK adult (more than 50m people) by September.

The summer, therefore, could be a realistic target to host some kind of major event to celebrate the end of the pandemic, Prof. O’Neill tells RTÉ.

The EC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 


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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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