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Spanish teens to receive €400 culture vouchers

Spanish citizens who turn 18 in 2022 will be given a voucher worth €400 to spend on culture as part of government plans to rebuild the sector.

The Youth Cultural Bonus was approved by ministers this week, with the aim of generating new habits of cultural consumption for young people post-pandemic, with public spending on cultural goods and services falling 15.8% in 2020.

Recipients will have one year to spend the grant, and will be able to spend a maximum of €200 on live art including music concerts and festivals, and up to €100 each on physical cultural products and online or digital consumption. The scheme comes into effect in June.

“In order to counteract the negative effects of the health, economic and social crisis… the government of Spain, through the ministry of culture and sports, has arbitrated a set of measures and actions aimed at guaranteeing the sustainability of the cultural and creative industries in our country, while promoting citizen access to culture,” reads the decree signed by Spanish culture minister Miquel Octavi Iceta Llorens.

“The Youth Cultural Voucher project seeks to facilitate universal and diversified access to culture for young people, generate new habits of cultural consumption and strengthen existing ones”

“The Youth Cultural Voucher project seeks to facilitate universal and diversified access to culture for young people, generate new habits of cultural consumption and strengthen existing ones, create new audiences, stimulate demand and reduce the negative impact caused by the pandemic on various cultural sectors in our country. In short, promote loyalty that generates the habit of consuming cultural products in young people so that, as adults, they continue to consume cultural products regularly.”

According to AP Musicales, almost 500,000 people in Spain will be eligible, with beneficiaries to be granted several virtual prepaid cards for each of the three categories. Spending on bullfighting, fashion, sports, gastronomy or stationery products is not permitted.

The announcement notes that similar schemes have been initiated in nearby countries such as France and Italy.

 


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Dutch gov boosts culture support to €251.6m

The Dutch government has made an additional €56.5 million available to culture, bringing its latest support package for the sector to €251.6m.

The funding, which covers the period from 1 February to 8 March, brings the amount allocated solely to the Performing Arts Fund (for music, musical theatre, dance and festivals) since the start of the November lockdown to €122.5m, with €11m still available from an earlier round.

The scheme will shortly open for applications for the 28 November to 31 January window, with a new scheme to be drawn up for February/March period in light of ongoing Covid-19 measures. A total of €30m has also been set aside for creators.

Although live events were given the go-ahead to resume in the country last week, they must adhere to a 10pm curfew and are currently restricted to a maximum of 1,250 visitors indoors with fixed seats and up to a third of the capacity in outdoor spaces.

“The corona crisis continues to hit the cultural and creative sector hard”

Access to music venues is limited to those who have been vaccinated, have recovered from Covid or have been tested against Covid – otherwise known as the 3G model – and facemasks are required when walking around. One promoter told IQ the rules made it “almost impossible” to stage concerts. Meanwhile, festivals are still banned and nightclubs remain closed.

“The corona crisis continues to hit the cultural and creative sector hard,” says Gunay Uslu, state secretary of culture and media.

“In addition to the support for subsidised institutions, there is therefore also extra support for the self-employed. This is desperately needed to retain their knowledge and skills for the sector. We are extending various subsidy schemes for makers at the funds. There is also support for freelancers, makers and technicians in the part of the performing arts sector that is not subsidised by the government through the compensation scheme at the Performing Arts Fund.”

Overall, more than €1.8 billion has been made available in specific support for the cultural and creative sector since the start of the pandemic, in addition to generic support packages.

The latest development coincides with Denmark today (1 February) becoming the first country in the European Union to end all coronavirus measures. The country will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical” illness from 5 February, with PM Mette Frederiksen telling citizens they will be able to look forward to “concerts and festivals again” this summer.

The authorities have removed measures due to Denmark’s high (81%) vaccination rate and Omicron appearing to be milder than previous variants.

 


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Dutch lockdown protesters get creative

Venues in the Netherlands temporarily turned themselves into hairdressers and beauty salons in protest at the ongoing shutdown of the sector.

Two barbers set up on the stage of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw concert hall, while a barber and two nail artists tended to visitors at the Van Gogh Museum, reports France24, which says Dutch authorities handed out enforcement notices to a number of venues that took part in the day-long protest.

The stunts came after the country’s live sector’s hopes for a swift reopening were dashed last weekend. While measures were eased for shops and other businesses, the cultural industry remains closed, with a review on reopening venues not now due to take place until 25 January. Music venues have been closed and events banned since a lockdown was imposed on 19 December.

“We have shown over the last two years that it’s very, very safe to go to a concert”

“We do not understand and there is no reasoning for it because we have shown over the last two years that it’s very, very safe to go to a concert or to go to a museum,” said Simon Reinink, director of Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw concert hall. “Actually, it’s our profession — crowd management. We know how to deal with large crowds. And we’ve done it in a very, very safe way.”

Culture minister Gunay Uslu tweeted: “The cultural sector draws attention to their situation in a creative way. I understand the cry for help and that artists want to show all the beautiful things they have to offer us. But the opening of society must go step by step. Culture is high on the agenda.”

On 11 September last year, an estimated 150,000 people across 10 cities took part in the second Unmute Us protest on to demand the immediate restart of major events. The march was the largest-ever protest in the Netherlands, more than doubling the attendance of the first demonstration on 21 August which drew 70,000.

Yesterday (19 January), the taskforce for the cultural and creative sector presented its opening and recovery plan to the cabinet and the house of representatives.

The plan outlines six proposals to get out of the crisis in a “flexible and resilient way”, including a roadmap that describes how events can go ahead safely for each risk level of the pandemic. Detailing what the cultural sector needs to recover from the crisis, it calls for emergency support to reach all parts of the cultural chain.

 


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Scotland unveils £65m aid for culture and events

The Scottish government has earmarked £65 million (€77.8m) in financial aid for culture and events, amid Covid-19 restrictions.

The events sector is set to receive £19.8m (€23.6m) while venues, along with cultural businesses, organisations and independent cinemas, will receive £31.5m (€37.6).

National performing companies that suffered losses over the Christmas period will obtain £2m (€2.3m) while museums, galleries and heritage trusts will secure £1.7m (€2m) in funding. Freelancers in impacted creative sectors will also be bolstered by a £10m (€11.9m).

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon originally announced that £20m would be offered in support for culture and events on 14 December, with the extra £27m in funding for culture and £17m for events being announced last week.

The additional £1m underspend from the existing events budget boosts the total funding package to £65m.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is once again causing disruption and uncertainty in the culture and events sector”

The financial aid comes after the Scottish government implemented further restrictions on large-scale events and public spaces from 26 December.

Indoor events where attendees are standing are limited to 100 people, seated events are limited to 200 and outdoor events will be limited to 500 people. The new rules will be reviewed on 11 January.

“The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is once again causing disruption and uncertainty in the culture and events sector, who have already been hit so hard by its impact,” says culture secretary, Angus Robertson.

“We have been engaging with the sector about the impact of the Omicron variant and we are fully committed to supporting culture and events while they recover from the impact of the Covid – and we are aware of just how important they are to Scotland, and indeed the wider recovery from this pandemic.

“These additional funds will help protect the livelihoods of the people working in the sector – and allow us to give further support to freelancers, culture organisations, venues and our national performing companies.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the Scottish government has provided £175m to the culture, heritage and events sector.

 


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Denmark’s restart team submits recommendations

Denmark’s ‘restart team’ has submitted a catalogue of recommendations on the reopening of the cultural and sports sectors to the ministry of culture for government approval.

The ten-person team, which was assembled by the government in autumn 2020, has met with more than 80 key stakeholders across the two sectors to determine how the government should allocate the 50 million DKK it previously earmarked for the restart.

The restart team has made the following recommendations for the government:

“It is crucial that we get as much momentum as possible in culture and sports under the conditions we live in right now”

The team has also made a number of recommendations that require a longer-term effort and/or funding that is outside the allocated 50m DKK.

The team – which includes Esben Marcher (Dansk Live), Signe Lopdrup (Roskilde Festival Group) and Sara Indrio (Danish Artist Association) from the music sector – has outlined the financial loss event organisers have experienced due to the pandemic, and the risks that lie ahead with the reopening.

The team has recommended the following solutions:

• Compensation schemes and other support that must ensure that organisers in culture and sports can receive financial coverage for losses during a reopening.
• Risk capital, possibly in the form of a loss guarantee or government-backed insurance for organisers in case they are forced to cancel their events.
• Ongoing compensation for those who have to wait longer to open.

Joy Mogensen, Denmark’s minister for culture, says: “It is crucial that we get as much momentum as possible in culture and sports under the conditions we live in right now.”

Dansk Live’s Marcher says: “We have gone for broad, embracing proposals that can benefit all actors, which of course means that recommendations are not necessarily directly aimed at live organisers. However, I think it is positive that the SAFE project on testing quick tests is included in recommendations, just as it is positive that there is a focus on pushing for innovation in culture and sports.”

Roskilde Festival Group’s Lopdrup, who is deputy chairman of the restart team, says: “Cultural and sports life has been hit hard by closure and restrictions. In our work, we have encountered a sector that, on the one hand, fights hard for survival and, on the other hand, does everything possible to come up with proposals for solutions and the development of formats that can pave the way for those cultures and sports experiences we all lack so much.

“Our recommendations certainly do not solve all the challenges, but I hope they can help inspire and open up new opportunities for the players and thus pave the way for the reopening of cultural and sports life, so we can meet about the community-creating experiences again.”

 


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Sweden dedicates extra 1.5bn kr to culture

Sweden’s governing parties are dedicating an extra 1.5 billion kr (€144m) to culture this year to compensate for the economic consequences caused by the pandemic and ensure the sector’s full recovery.

In addition, an extra 1bn kr will be set aside for 2021 for the restructuring and restart of cultural activities throughout the country. Details of its distribution will be revealed at a later date.

The government has also unveiled future plans to invest in cultural infrastructure – including concert halls – by increasing the cultural cooperation model by 300m kr in 2021 and by 150m kr in the following years.

The government has also unveiled future plans to invest in cultural infrastructure including concert halls

Finally, a further 80m kr will be set aside annually, from 2021, to “strengthen the conditions of cultural creators throughout the country,” which will see an increase in the number of grants and scholarships available.

Elsewhere, the government recently gave freelancers a lifeline when it announced a 3.5bn kr support package for sole traders that have been severely financially impacted during the pandemic this year, as well as an extra 1.5bn kr set aside for 2021.

Sole traders will now be able to receive compensation for 75% of their loss in turnover, provided they had a turnover of 200,000 kr the previous year.

Sweden is still operating with a 50-person limit on public gatherings, which has been in force since mid-March. However, the strict limit has forced event organisers to get creative with formats.

 


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Industry orgs: Bring back EU culture commissioner title

A collection of music industry associations have shown their support for the Bring Back Culture campaign, following the absence of the term ‘culture’ from the title of EU commissioner, Mariya Gabriel.

On 10 September, president-elect of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, presented the commission’s new structure, with eight vice presidents standing for updated work priorities. Culture falls under the gambit of Commissioner Gabriel, but is absent from her title of ‘Innovation and Youth’.

Von der Leyen takes over from Jean-Claude Juncker as president of the European Commission on 1 November, 2019.

Culture Action Europe (CAE), a network of cultural organisations, penned an open letter to the president of the European Commission asking for the insertion of the term ‘culture’ into the title. The letter was signed by bodies including the British Council, the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance, the European Choral Association, the European Concert Hall Organisation and Opera Europa,

The signatories are concerned that culture will not “remain at the appropriate level of recognition” due to the title change.

“We call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner”

European live industry body Pearle*, the European Music Council (EMC) and venue network Live DMA are among live music-related organisations to lend their support to the CAE campaign.

“Pearle* looks forward to discussing Commissioner-designate Mariya Gabriel’s priorities on culture and the new Creative Europe programme,” reads a statement from the organisation. “However, we regret that culture is not literally mentioned in her portfolio’s title.

“This sets an unwelcome precedent since culture has been included in the European Treaty in 1991.”

The EMC and Live DMA similarly express concerns, saying “we call upon the president of the European Commission to reinforce the role of culture for the development of the European Union by spelling out ‘culture’ in the title of the commissioner.”

All three organisations had previously urged politicians to put live music at the core of EU policy, prior to the European Parliament elections in May.

The CAE online petition had received 1,885 signatures at press time.

 


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Macron dedicates €225m to French cultural sector

French president Emmanuel Macron has pledged to create a €225 million public fund to benefit creative companies in the country, as he warns against growing US and Chinese dominance in the sector.

Macron announced the fund to a crowd of 130 cultural industry executives at the Elysée Palace. The funding was one of the recommendations made in a report concerning the private financing of film and audiovisual production in France by film producer Dominique Boutonnat.

The fund will be operated by the Public Investment Bank (banque publique d’investissement).

The French president also warned the executives against the dominance of US companies such as Netflix, Disney and Apple, as well as emerging Chinese competitors.

“I truly believe that if we do not organise ourselves, the battle is lost,” stated Macron at the Elysée Palace meeting, highlighting the need for collective action to combat US and Chinese tech giants.

“I truly believe that if we do not organise ourselves, the battle is lost”

A collective action plan will be outlined by the French Ministry of Culture in cooperation with the cultural industry sector by the end of the year.

This is the second time this month that the French president has called upon the EU to pool resources in the name of culture. In the aftermath of the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral on 15 April, Macron called for collective action to safeguard historical sites and protect “European heritage”.

US cultural sector dominance has been criticised by French politicians in the past. In 2017, former French culture minister Jack Lang denounced Live Nation’s inaugural Lollapalooza Paris festival as an “invasion of the musical life of France by American multinationals”.

The Paris edition of Lollapalooza returns for its third year in July, featuring headline performances from Twenty One Pilots and the Strokes.

 


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.art, TLD for “world’s creative community”, launches

With seemingly no end in sight to the dispute over the ownership of .music, London-based UK Creative Ideas (UKCI) has launched an an alternative domain name for the arts and cultural sector: .art.

Describes as a top-level domain (TLD) for the “world’s creative community in all its diverse forms”, .art’s early adopters largely consist of art galleries and museums, including Paris’s Centre Pompidou, Tate in London and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, although UKCI says .art “goes way beyond the visual arts to embrace performance, decorative arts, applied arts, literature, film, music, education, collectables, and could even take in cookery and sport”.

“Our mission is to preserve the cultural legacy of the global art world,” says .art founder Ulvi Kasimov. “We are honoured that so many respected institutions from all over the world share our vision and conviction that .art will transform the arts community’s relationship with the internet and help protect their brand’s heritage online.”

.art domain names will be available to register from February 2017.

Similar TLDs include Accent Media’s .tickets and Rightside’s .band.

 


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British acts take centre stage at Rio Olympics

London artists represented the UK’s creative industries at the Olympics in Rio on Sunday, with performances from grime acts Nadia Rose (pictured), Elf kid and Logan Sama, and electronic duo Chase & Status.

Taking place on Sunday, 14 August, a London Soundtrack showcase saw the artists play live to celebrate the city’s culture, organised by the Major of London, Sadiq Khan, and curated by British Underground.

Says Khan: “I hope Elf Kid, Nadia and Logan will inspire others to make the best of what our great city has to offer and encourage the world to invest in London’s thriving cultural and creative industries.

“British Underground have been doing an excellent job exporting British music to important international showcases across the world for the last 15 years and this event in Rio demonstrates very clearly that London is open for business.”

The gig took place at British House – the official residence of Britain during the Rio Olympics.

“British Underground have been doing an excellent job exporting British music to important international showcases across the world for the last 15 years and this event in Rio demonstrates very clearly that London is open for business,” Khan says.

Elsewhere, 23 songs published by Universal Music Publishing Group have featured, or are set to feature, during the opening and closing ceremonies.

On Monday, the famed Jobim/Moraes standard The Girl From Ipanema (Garota De Ipanema) was streamed more than 40,000 times after the song soundtracked model Gisele Bundchen’s opening catwalk on Friday, when UMPG Brazil artist and songwriter Anitta also performed.

Norwegian musician Kygo will play his early 2016 single Carry Me with guest vocalist Julia Michaels during the closing ceremony on 21 August.

The show will start at 8pm BRT at the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, and is part of the new Olympic Channel launch, which will be available worldwide via a mobile app and online.

“As one of the hottest music acts in the world, Kygo’s music speaks to new generations of Olympic fans,” says Mark Parkman, General Manager of the Olympic Channel.

“His performance is sure to electrify viewers around the world on Sunday night as we prepare to launch the Olympic Channel.

“Kygo and his music will be an important element of the Olympic Channel where fans will be able to continue their excitement of Rio and the Olympic Games all year long.”