fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Resurgent live music sector faces staff shortages

UK industry bodies including LIVE (Live music Industries Venues and Entertainment), the Concert Promoters Association, the Events Industry Forum and the UK Crowd Management Association have written to the prime minister regarding what they describe as crippling staff shortages across large parts of the UK economy.

The live entertainment and events associations are joined by trade bodies representing other sectors, including hospitality, food and drink and retail, in calling for government action to help remediate the situation, with the letter suggesting that EU workers could be allowed to return on a short-term basis to help fill the empty roles.

“While the overall picture is complex, one short-term solution with immediate benefit would be to temporarily ease immigration requirements for the large numbers of workers, particularly from the EU, who have returned to their homelands during the lockdowns. This has contributed greatly to the shortfalls,” reads the letter, which can be read here.

“Indeed, a study in 2020 by the UK’s Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence estimated that 1.3 million migrants left the UK between July 2019 and September 2020. This figure was based on UK labour statistics, and represents over 4% of the UK workforce.

“Unfortunately, evidence suggests that those unemployed within the UK workforce seem unwilling to take on many of the jobs where there are vacancies in the industries we represent. To help resolve this we ask that all those who have worked in the UK over the last three years are given the freedom to return to work here with less restrictive immigration regulations on a short-term basis.

“One short-term solution with immediate benefit would be to temporarily ease immigration requirements”

“A relaxation of the rules does not need to be open ended but it needs to happen quickly if we are to support the recovery of the UK economy.”

The letter comes as entertainment and hospitality businesses in other countries also warn they are facing a staff shortage as they begin to reopen this summer.

In the Netherlands, live music association VNPF is warning that the industry will likely be short of staff when full-capacity shows restart later this year, with many professionals having left the industry over the past 16 months.

Both venues and festivals are short of people, VNPF director Berend Schans tells NU.nl, with the former sector having laid off an average of 20% of their staff last year and the latter probably even more. “Exact figures are lacking, but because that industry [festivals] has been hit even harder than venues, and they have received relatively less government support, I would say that the situation there is even more serious, especially in view of the lay-offs at Mojo Concerts and ID&T, for example.”

Similarly, France, the US and New Zealand are all facing post-pandemic labour shortages, particularly in the hospitality sector, and while the issue has been exacerbated by Brexit in the UK, experts have been warning of shortages for months.

“This will need a government intervention to ensure that the industry has the ability to provide enough staff”

The UK Door Security Association (UKDSA) said back in march that venues and clubs could face trouble reopening as planned following an exodus of security staff during the pandemic.

In addition to EU workers who have gone home, many qualified door staff were forced to find work elsewhere when venues were closed in March 2020.

According to the Security Industry Authority (SIA), over a quarter of the UK’s total security workforce were non-UK nationals in 2018. The UKDSA estimates that over half of the vacancies in the sector may be left unfilled when business restarts gets back to normal later this summer.

“This will need a government intervention to ensure that the industry has the ability to provide enough staff,” says Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association. Concerning new elements in the SIA door supervisor licence which require more training for door staff, Kill adds: “While the training is welcomed, it is not timely given the current economic situation across most of the sector, and consideration needs to be given to it being pushed back to 2022.”

Read IQ’s feature on the challenges of recruiting and restaffing post-pandemic in the latest, 100th issue of the magazine.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Finland’s guarantee fund ‘doesn’t meet industry’s needs’

The Finnish government has proposed an event guarantee fund that would “put players in the sector in a highly unequal position”, according to the Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus).

The proposal, prepared by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy and submitted for comments on Monday (29 March), has been designed to reimburse a portion of the production costs for large-scale events and festivals should they be cancelled or restricted due to official regulations.

However, the association says the proposed guarantee scheme “unjustifiably” excludes a large part of the event industry, such as year-round events, professional sports and theatre.

In addition, the proposed guarantee support would only cover events during the summer season, up until 30 September. The association says the time limit does not take into account the time span of planning provisions in the event industry, nor would it cover “one of the most active operating periods in the industry”.

“In the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry”

The association adds that summer events have a “rather narrow employment impact on the industry as a whole”.

“It is good that the need for transaction support has finally been identified. However, it must also act on its purpose. Therefore, the support model must be corrected before the decision of parliament, because in the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry,” says Pekka Timonen, chairman of the Event Industry Association.

“A guarantee covering only the summer should have been provided for in January at the latest. We also require security from the guarantee to secure the events of the autumn season. Many trade fairs and corporate events as well as entertainment and seminar events are held in the autumn and early winter. They must be covered by comprehensive guarantee support,” adds Timonen.

In the northern hemisphere, other insurance schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Finland’s live events sector ‘on brink of collapse’

Up to 2,300 companies in Finland’s live sector expect to permanently close in the next six months if financial support isn’t quickly provided, according to a survey conducted last week by Event Industries Finland.

The association – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – also found that almost 300 events are under immediate threat.

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.

The study found these have received approximately €85m in financial support, which counts for around 4.5% of the estimated €1.9bn financial loss the sector suffered during 2020.

According to Event Industries Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus), the latest event closure in the industry, which lasted more than two months, and the lack of an exit strategy “threaten the realisation of several major events this year and the future of the entire industry in Finland”.

“We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large the damage is”

The association is now calling for a roadmap for Finland’s return to live music, as well as financial security for the event industry – namely a government-backed guarantee fund which would give organisers the ability to plan for the future.

“We understand that a timetable for lifting restrictions cannot be promised, but defining and publishing criteria is essential. The industry will not be able to function without a future perspective. We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large and long-lasting damage we will have to repair,” says Kati Kuusisto, director of Event Industry Association.

“Event guarantee services would strengthen the courage and ability of companies in our industry to plan for the future. The decision on support must be obtained quickly and effective support must take into account the entire business network in the sector. Several European countries have already announced similar subsidies.

“Audiences are also waiting for the return of events, and the return of tickets already sold for events carried over from last summer to this year has been very low. The state should strengthen the possibilities for starting the event industry for several reasons,” Kuusisto emphasises.

Governments in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have recently announced event cancellation funds.

Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

New associations find common ground in 2020

Way back in April, Stuart Galbraith, CEO of UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live, told IQ that one of the small silver linings to come out of the giant corona-cloud that is 2020 was the spirit of increased cooperation among those who had just a month earlier been bitter rivals. “What has been very pleasant is that, with one or two exceptions, everyone’s been mucking in,” explained Galbraith, who is also vice-chairman of the UK’s Concert Promoters Association (CPA).

Another key takeaway from the then still-young coronavirus crisis, he said, was the importance of industry associations: “Government don’t want to talk to individual commercial organisations,” Galbraith explained, but officialdom will deal with representative bodies.

While there are no shortage of those in the UK, representing all aspects of the business – including new umbrella group LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), whose members include the CPA, Entertainment Agents Association and Association of Independent Festivals, as well as One Industry One Voice, a similar body representing the broader events sector – elsewhere the Covid-19 pandemic has spawned the creation of a number of new associations, as industry professionals pool resources to ensure the business is properly represented in its discussions with the powers that be.

In Finland, Kati Kuusisto and Maria Sahlstedt have managed to unite not only the concert business, but the wider events sector, with Events Industries of Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus) – an achievement it took the coronavirus crisis to make possible, says director Kuusisto.

“We’d been thinking about setting up an association for the past two years, but it wasn’t until April 2020, when I saw an industry person on LinkedIn asking if anyone was interested in launching a union for the event industry, that it became reality,” she explains.

“It was important to start talking to each other, because the industry doesn’t exist in the eyes of the government otherwise”

“We started to call around all the different entities in the sector, and within two days we’d set up meetings with 60 different organisations, from sports clubs to concert organisers, theatres, venues, festivals, religious institutions, subcontractors, technical staff and more.”

What unites the diverse members of Event Industries of Finland is that they have fundamentally the same business model, despite differences in the content of what they organise, adds Kuusisto. “We have different formats, different content, but we are all fundamentally running business with same kind of problems and solutions.”

Quoting figures that will be familiar to event organisers across the world, Sahlstedt, the association’s director of communications, says those in government were surprised to learn of the extent of the event business’s losses, which are around 90% compared to 2020, according to Event Industries of Finland research.

“The chamber of commerce told us that restaurants and travel agents have suffered the worst [of any industry] this year because their losses are around 30%!” she comments. “So that was a moment of black humour for us…”

Over the border in Russia, Nadia Solovieva of SAV Entertainment, the country’s leading concert promoter, is the driving force behind the new Association of Concert, Theatre and Ticket Organisations (KTiBO), which largely picks up where the now-defunct Soyuz Concert left off in providing a representative association for the Russian live business.

“When the pandemic started, people started to realise that, believe it or not, we all have common interests,” explains Solovieva, “and there is a need to think about how we can help ourselves and the industry in general.”

“Within two days we’d set up meetings with 60 different organisations”

Unlike state-funded theatres and operate houses, which receive subsidies of up to 100%, private concert businesses have largely been left out in the cold when it comes to state support, Solovieva says, with payments worth employees’ minimum wage in May and June the extent of the help extended to SAV and businesses like it this year.

“It was important to start talking to each other, because the industry doesn’t exist in the eyes of the government otherwise, which is why it was so important to form some kind of organisation,” she continues. “I was the one going to all these government officials and asking for help, but it’s difficult when you don’t have an association – and you want to represent the whole industry, not just yourself and your friends.”

“It’s partly our fault, too,” she adds, “because we’ve tried to stay away from officials as much as possible, which means they don’t have any idea what we do – the economics, and how we survive. But in times like this, we need to be speaking to them and we need their help.”

In Portugal, a new association, Circuito, is fighting for grassroots venues, which have been particularly hard hit by the on-off lockdowns, curfews and states of emergency imposed since March.

The brainchild of three clubs, Lisbon’s Musicbox and LuxFrágil and Oporto’s Maus Hábitos, the association was formed earlier this year to address an “urgent need to secure the survival of grassroots music venues”, says Circuito director Gonçalo Riscado, by calling for “support measures and fight[ing] for the recognition of the circuit” by the Portuguese authorities.

“The timings and the conditions to do it never seemed right before”

“Even though the idea of creating a Portuguese network of music venues was envisaged previously, the timings and the conditions to do it never seemed right,” explains Riscado.

The new association recently organised its first major campaign, #AoVivoOuMorto (#LiveOrDead), to raise awareness of the difficulties facing venues and to encourage government to engage with the embattled grassroots sector.

Riscado describes 17 October’s #AoVivoOuMorto –which saw demonstrators queue outside shuttered venues in four Portuguese cities, forming lines up to five miles long – as a “a fruitful campaign” which led to important talks between Circuito and the government regarding a plan to protect small music venues.

“Being our first public demonstration, it was very important to build the foundations for our current and future work,” continues Riscado. “We had two simultaneous goals with it: to raise awareness for the importance and the value of  grassroots music venues, and call for immediate support measures. With that in mind, placing the grassroots venues circuit within the cultural map and highlighting its importance is the first visible result of this campaign.

“The way artists, the general audience and the media understood, adhered to and enhanced our position was fundamental for us to achieve this goal. In this sense, the ability to overcome this first stage in months, when usually it takes years, is definitely our first big achievement and is an effect of #AoVivoOuMorto.

“Furthermore, after the demonstration, Circuito had several meetings with the central government and city halls and important negotiations were started.”

“I’m glad that people understand that we have common interests”

Sahlstedt says she hopes the spirit of pan-industry cooperation in Finland can continue after the Covid-19 crisis passes, noting that – largely as a result of the work put in by Event Industries of Finland – the events sector is on its way to being officially recognised as an industry in its own right by the Finnish statistical office.

“It’s been a case of repeating the same thing over and over and people finally starting to hear us,” adds Kuusisto. “The whole idea of live events as an industry is totally new and will take some time to understand, but I have a feeling that we’ve finally started to find a framework for the future.”

“I’m glad that people understand that we have common interests,” adds Solovieva, who also says she “absolutely” hopes KTiBO will outlive coronavirus. “The industry needs representation, full stop,” she says. “It’s like a trade union – even in normal times, we need an organisation which can speak on behalf of the industry.”

Circuito, says Riscado, is a “real-life example of the visible strengthening of collaborative networks in the music industry” in 2020. “The sense of collectiveness and association gained renewed importance during the pandemic, given that there is a common need, goal and threat.”

“Keeping it alive when this is all over will be the main challenge,” he adds. “However, we believe many of these ties will not be lost after the pandemic.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Finnish event industry demands gov compensation

Finland’s newly formed live music association is demanding immediate action from the government to compensate for losses resulting from official restrictions on events and ‘violations of the constitutional freedom of business’.

The Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – has emphasised that professional event operators have acted responsibly throughout the corona pandemic and now calls for the same responsibility to be taken by the rest of society.

“The corona situation in some parts of our country has become very serious and that is why the decision-makers and the authorities have wanted to send a strong message that we should all now act with special responsibility,” says Pekka Timonen, president of the Event Industry Association.

“Strong restrictions and bans on events are one way of conveying the message, but at the same time they cause more damage to the industry that has already suffered the most from the corona.

“After the pandemic, we will also bear responsibility for Finland’s economic growth and recovery”

“Professionally organised public events have been carried out in accordance with official instructions, and no corona infections have occurred among the public. Measures are taken to ensure safety and cancelled events have weakened the profitability of the sector and the operating conditions of companies since March.

“We have been bearers of shared responsibility during the corona pandemic, and after the pandemic, we will also bear responsibility for Finland’s economic growth and recovery. Before that, we expect responsibility from our country’s top decision-makers.”

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.

However, the association says that nearly two thirds of Finnish live businesses will not survive another six months without government intervention.

The Event Industry Association has prepared a proposal to ensure the recovery and growth of the sector, which was presented and submitted to key government ministers and ministries last week.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

60% of Finnish businesses facing bankruptcy

More than 60% of Finland’s live events companies do not expect to survive the next six months, new research reveals.

A survey conducted in October by the recently launched Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste –  found that over 70% of businesses still have next to no work and nearly two thirds believe they will not survive until summer 2021.

“The companies in our sector are in an unprecedentedly difficult situation,” explains Kati Kuusisto, director of advocacy for the Event Industry Association.

“The constantly changing situation and recommendations weaken our customers’ confidence and willingness to buy [tickets], while compliance with the applicable restrictions increases the cost of organising events,” she adds.

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.

Kuusisto says the industry needs an “exit strategy” in the form of urgent financial support and increased cooperation with the authorities, as well as a campaign that reassure Finns they may return to shows safely.

“We need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK”

“Adequate financial support must be a priority, so that the damage to the ecosystem, which is vital to our sector’s activities, does not become permanent,” she continues. “Immediately thereafter, cooperation between [the industry], authorities and the government ministries should ensure that the [coronavirus] constraints and recommendations for events are at an appropriate level.

“All means available implement safe events, such as functional rapid testing, must also be widely deployed. At the same time, we need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK.”

In an open letter to the press written in late September, the Tapahtumateollisuus criticised media outlets for fuelling fears about Covid-19 by inaccurately pointing to major events as the source of an increase in infections in Finland.

“During the coronavirus epidemic, professional event organisers have made investments and taken comprehensive measures to make it possible to stage events safely,” the association said. “The loss of customers, and even entire events, caused by incorrect news coverage are already deepening the losses of companies in the sector and threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.