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Major European markets fear for festival season

Major European live music markets such as Germany and England have shared fears over the impending festival season.

German live music association LiveKomm has today warned of “the end of club and festival culture as we know it”.

The association has penned an urgent appeal to policymakers, calling for clarity around the reopening of the cultural sector.

“The political mode must be more transparent, otherwise the industry cannot prepare for opening scenarios,” reads the letter.

“Optimistic voices assume that the rules will be relaxed soon, this must not happen without the clubs being taken into account and must also be communicated as such. Everything is currently up in the air, staff, planning and operation, festivals and clubs are completely blank.”

LiveKomm is also urging that the federal government take preventive measures before the autumn in case of another wave of Covid-19.

“Renewed lockdowns and closures must be prevented. After two years politicians can be asked to take preventive measures and plans that start before the wave to protect the cultural industry,” it reads.

“Anything else would be a total failure. This includes, among other things, test capacities, and the lack of PCR test capacities cannot be justified for this winter. Any planning omissions in the coming period will destroy livelihoods in autumn.”

“We may be emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, but this year will not be a case of ‘back to business as usual’”

LiveKomm’s plea follows a similar appeal from Germany’s Event Management Forum (EMF) to the government to follow the lead of other European nations and drop all Covid restrictions.

England, Denmark, Finland and Sweden are among the markets that have fully reopened – though many have warned that the lifting of restrictions isn’t a silver bullet for the live industry.

In England, the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is warning of a ‘perfect storm’ heading for the UK’s festival season.

A live entertainment supply chain crisis, workforce shortages, and the effects of Brexit are chief among AIF’s concerns.

“We may be emerging from the shadow of the pandemic in the UK, but this year will not be a case of ‘back to business as usual’ without critical support for festival organisers,” AIF CEO Paul Reed said today during his opening speech at the 2022 Festival Congress.

“That’s why we’re calling on the government to aid our recovery and maintain the current reduced 12.5% rate on tickets beyond the end of March, as well as looking at some form of government-backed loan scheme for suppliers to alleviate some of these pressures and encourage investment in the festival supply chain,” he continues.

“We also urge government to reconsider removing the tax relief for certain biofuels, which further increases cost and is completely counter-productive to promoting better environmental practice across the sector.”


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Italian venues adopt ‘The Last Concert?’ campaign

Italy’s live music sector is preparing to host ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?), a campaign which was originally launched in Spain last year to highlight the increasingly uncertain future of music venues.

More than 130 Italian venues will live stream performances under the campaign banner on 27 February, a full year since the first venues closed and stages fell silent.

The initiative, promoted by KeepOn Live, Arci and Assomusica in collaboration with Live DMA, launched on social media at the end of last month when Italian venues posted images with the year of foundation and the year 2021 with a question mark to suggest that the crisis may force the permanent closure of these spaces sooner rather than later.

Fabrique Milano
2014 – 2021
L’Ultimo Concerto?


Posted by Fabrique Milano on Thursday, January 28, 2021


“When will the last concert be? Or maybe it has already been?” reads the statement from the campaign group.

“Live clubs and concert halls carry the weight of almost a year of closure on their shoulders. Currently, despite the enormous role that these spaces have in terms of the creation, promotion and dissemination of culture and their indisputable social value, it can be said that they have been almost ignored by the numerous decrees that have followed one another in recent months. Provisions have mentioned cinemas and theatres in terms of entertainment but have not devoted due attention to these realities which risk [music venues] disappearing.”

Locomotiv Club
2007 – 2021
L’ultimo concerto?

Posted by LOCOMOTIV CLUB Bologna on Thursday, January 28, 2021


The campaign group has also highlighted urgent requirements to prevent the live sector from permanently closing including economic compensation “proportional to the level of impact that the sector has suffered in these 12 months and in the months to come” as well as institutional recognition equal to that of cinemas and theatres which would entitle it to subsidies and support measures.

‘The Last Concert?’ will be streamed for free at 9 pm CET on featuring performances from Lacuna Coil at Alcatraz in Milan, The Social State and Botanics from Locomotiv in Bologna, Marina Rei from Angelo Mai in Rome, Cosmo from Fabrique in Milan, Bobo Rondelli from Borderline in Pisa and more.


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Music venues in Italy close under new restrictions

Concert halls in Italy are closing today until at least 24 November, under a raft of new measures imposed by the Italian government to curb the second wave of coronavirus.

The new decree states that shows and parties which are open to the public and take place in venues such as concert halls, dance halls, discos and similar venues are prohibited, as well as outdoor events.

Bars, restaurants and cafes will have to stop table service by 6 pm but shops and the majority of businesses will remain operating.

“We think that we will suffer a bit this month but by gritting our teeth with these restrictions, we’ll be able to breathe again in December,” said prime minister Giuseppe Conte.

“Every choice involves sacrifices and renunciations but we must intervene firmly if we want to contain the virus”

Health minister Roberto Speranza added: “These are difficult days. The contagion curve is growing in the world and throughout Europe, the wave is very high. We must react immediately and with determination, if we want to avoid unsustainable numbers.

“Every choice involves sacrifices and renunciations. I am aware of this. But we must intervene firmly if we want to contain the virus in the time that is missing before the arrival of effective and safe vaccines and treatments. We will make it this time too, but only with the indispensable contribution of everyone.”

Cinemas, theatres, swimming pools and gyms will also close from today and the bulk of secondary school teaching will now be conducted online instead of in the classroom.

Sunday (25 October) saw a new daily record of cases in Italy of more than 21,200 and 128 deaths.

The prime minister has said he does not want to repeat the national lockdown imposed during the first wave in March and April because of the economic damage caused.


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Italy and Spain reclose nightlife establishments

This article was updated on 19 August, replacing the wording “music venues” with “nightlife establishments”.

Nightlife establishments in Spain and Italy were forced to close with immediate effect over the weekend due to a recent spike in coronavirus cases in both countries.

Spain’s closure of discotheques, cocktail bars and dance halls will be in place for the foreseeable future and was confirmed last Friday (14 August) by health minister Salvador Illa.

“We cannot afford not to be disciplined,” Illa said. “We cannot ignore the virus circulating among us.”

Infections in Spain have risen in recent days following the end of Spain’s tough lockdown seven weeks ago, bringing its cumulative total to 342,813 – the highest number in Western Europe.

Spanish association, the Union of Professional Musicians, has released a statement denouncing the government’s decision and calling for protection for professionals who will be affected by it.

“The forced, massive and indiscriminate closure of nightlife ends all musical and artistic programming that took place in halls and venues under strict compliance with the regulations in force in terms of protection against Covid19,” the statement reads.

“The forced, massive and indiscriminate closure of nightlife ends all musical and artistic programming that took place in halls and venues”

Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza announced similar shutdown measures for the country on 16 August via a press release on the government’s website.

“The activities of the dance are suspended, outdoors or indoors that take place in discos, dance halls and similar places intended for entertainment or taking place in beaches, establishments bathing establishments, equipped beaches, free beaches, common areas of the accommodation facilities or other places open to the public.” 

“We cannot nullify the sacrifices made in past months. Our priority must be that of opening schools in September, in full safety,” health minister Roberto Speranza said on Facebook.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus, and new cases in the past week were more than double those registered three weeks ago.

Spain’s first post-lockdown live music events took place from the 25 May, with outdoor events of up to 400 people and indoor concerts with a maximum capacity of 50 people permitted to resume in Spain.

Whereas Italy made its return to live on 15 June when concert halls, theatres and cinemas were allowed to reopen in Italy, with a maximum capacity of 200 people for indoor shows and 1,000 for performances held outdoors.


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