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Spain rolls out €3 million subsidy for venue operators

The Catalan government yesterday (26 August) announced a new subsidy of €3 million for venue operators in the region.

The fund will help operators mitigate the financial impact of the Covid-19 restrictions implemented during the first half of 2021.

This is the second subsidy of its kind and is almost double the initial €1,800,000 aid for venue operators.

In the new round of funding, the maximum limit of aid that operators can receive is increased to €350,000.

In order to be eligible, venue operators must prove a minimum expenditure of €4,000, as well as programming that includes at least 24 paid concerts between 14 March 2019 and 14 March 2020.

This is the second subsidy of its kind and is almost double the initial €1,800,000 aid for venue operators

Grants will vary depending on the capacity of the venue:

The Catalan government has also announced an €800,000 subsidy for the programming of live music events.

The funding, which applies to festivals, concert series and venue operators, can be used for all projects developed from 1 June 2020 that have ended between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2021.

Festivals and concert series must have included a minimum of four concerts in Catalonia in order to be eligible. Venue operators must have hosted a minimum of 20 concerts with paid admission in order to apply. Applicants may receive up to €45,000.


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Irish concert businesses receive €25m summer funding

The government of the Republic of Ireland has announced recipients of its €25 million in to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters to plan live performances across the country over the summer months, with a total of 237 organisations benefitting from the scheme.

The live performance support scheme (LPSS) is part of a €50m suite of measures to support the live entertainment sector, and follows exceptional demand for a €5m pilot scheme in in 2020. The scheme aims to support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to Covid-19 and where funding will make live performances viable or alternatively make them available online if audiences cannot attend due to restrictions.

Among the companies to benefit from LPSS funding include Festival Republic, which has been awarded €423,000 for live shows in Stradbally Hall (home to its festival Electric Picnic) and the Olympia Theatre in Dublin; Aiken Promotions, which received €500,000 for its live performances at Dublin’s Vicar Street; and Pod, which has also been awarded €500,000 for Meadows Festival, a socially distanced festival of music, comedy and spoken word.

“The scheme aims to support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to Covid-19 restrictions”

Over 400 companies and businesses applied for the scheme. A Word document of all successful applications is available here.

Irish culture minister Catherine Martin says: “I am very pleased to announce this funding, which will encompass and support a wide range of performances over the coming summer months. I know this funding will assist in the employment of performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector, bringing much-needed employment to many who have not had work for many, many months.

“I look forward to the high quality artistic output, as demonstrated in the pilot, which has been so important and enjoyed by so many.”

“I have recently provided a further €5m under the local live performance programming scheme for local authorities to engage local performers and crew to stage live performances in their areas,” she adds, “creating further employment opportunities over the coming months.”


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Canada’s indie venues bolstered by $100k aid

Independent live music venues in Canada will have the chance to apply for a share of a CA$100,000 (US$83,000) relief fund, launched by Jägermeister Canada.

According to the Canadian Live Music Association’s (CLMA) Covid-19 Venue Closures List, 89 Canadian music venues have permanently closed during the pandemic and a further 15 venues are in imminent danger of shuttering.

Thanks to the newly announced fund, 100 struggling Canadian live music venues will receive grants of $1,000 to help them soften the financial blow of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Eligible recipients for the relief will be selected through a lottery system, which Jägermeister will run in partnership with the CLMA.

Grant applications opened yesterday (25 May) and the deadline for submissions is Wednesday 2 June 2021 at 11:59 pm EST. Successful applicants will be notified via the CLMA at the end of June.

Venues must satisfy at least three of the eligibility requirements stated below, though exceptions may be made for venues in “rural or remote areas”:

Canada’s live music venues are also set to benefit from the recently announced 2021 budget, which includes C$50 million (US$40m) to help the sector weather the pandemic during 2021 and 2022.


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Barcelona to provide grants for summer 2021 shows

As part of ‘Barcelona Never Stops’, the Spanish city’s post-pandemic recovery plan, Barcelona city council has announced half a million euros’ worth of subsidies for ‘large-format’ concerts in the city this summer.

The €500,000 in grants will go towards the cost of promoting shows at two of Barcelona’s most celebrated open-air venues, the Parc del Fòrum (home to festivals including Primavera Sound and Cruïlla) and the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring), the complex built for 1992 Olympic games.

Jaume Collboni, first deputy mayor of Barcelona, says the grants aim to help the city “regain [its] leadership as the capital of live music in southern Europe”.

The concerts organised as part of the initiative, which must place at one of the two venues between 20 May and 30 September, will follow a Covid-secure format, taking place outdoors with social distancing and mask wearing, and are expected to have a capacity of between 1,000 and 3,000, says the council.

“Barcelona wants to regain leadership as the capital of live music in southern Europe”

To be eligible for a grant, promoters must have a confirmed date at one of the venues, after which they will be reimbursed 40% of the costs of the show. Grants will be given on a first-come, first-served basis until the €0.5m fund is exhausted.

Application forms may be downloaded from the Barcelona City Council website.

The Association of Music Promoters (APM) welcomes the announcement, with spokesperson Tito Ramoneda saying the subsidies show that Barcelona is serious about retaining its crown as a music capital.

“This is very good news,” says Ramoneda. “Barcelona has historically been a city that has welcomed music in all senses; undoubtedly music is part of its identity. It it is a very powerful sector economically speaking – therefore, it must be protected and a path to normality sought.”


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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A year on, associations urge EU to ‘save culture’

No fewer than 110 music, entertainment and culture industry associations have written to the three presidents of the European Union to ask for financial support for the creative sector, which has been among the hardest hit by the impact of Covid-19.

A year on from the lockdowns of March 2020, the industry bodies – which include Yourope, the European Arenas Association, the Arena Resilience Alliance, De Concert!, Pearle, the European Festivals Association, IFPI, Live DMA and Trans Europe Halles – have called on both the EU and its individual member states to act now to secure the future of “cultural life in Europe”.

Central to the demands of the group, which also include associations representing TV producers, cinemas, fashion designers, book sellers and more, is a commitment by the EU to allocate at least 2% of its Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) – a €672.5 billion designed to kickstart European economies post-coronavirus – to the cultural sector, which they say is second only to aviation in the damage inflicted by the year-long shutdown, with some businesses’ turnover down almost 90%.

Their letter, which can be read here, is addressed to the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, and president of the European Council, Charles Michel, as well as the heads of state, heads of government and ministers for European affairs, finance and culture of the EU’s 27 member countries.

“We ask the member states to reactivate cultural life in Europe”

In addition to allocating at least 2% towards the cultural sector, the signatories ask that culture be designated a “priority sector” for RRF funds, and that member states involve industry representatives in implementing the RRF funding at a national level.

“We ask the member states to reactivate cultural life in Europe, while keeping existing, and putting in place new, dedicated support schemes far beyond the stabilisation of the situation,” the associations write. “This will help rebuild confidence of both cultural communities and citizens, ensure a smooth resumption of activities and offer hope to the millions of Europeans whose lives have become barren, devoid of cultural and social connection.”

The letter-writing campaign follows an earlier open letter, asking governments to ‘make culture central in the EU recovery’, published in November.

“Reinvigorating the cultural ecosystem not only offers hope to millions of workers who saw their jobs eradicated or endangered by the pandemic, it can offer new meaning and purpose to all Europeans and the European project,” the signatories conclude. “Let us put culture at the heart of Europe’s recovery.”


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Live Nation’s Crew Nation raises $18 million

Crew Nation, a global Covid-relief fund set up last year by Live Nation, has raised US$18 million for touring and venue crews impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The live entertainment behemoth launched the fund in April 2020, contributing an initial $5m directly (including $250,000 personally from CEO Michael Rapino and his family) and matching the next $5m donated by artists, fans and employees dollar for dollar.

Live Nation told Variety yesterday that it has far exceeded its initial goal by raising $18m in a global effort that has aided approximately 15,000 crew members in over 40 countries and across all 50 states.

The fund, which is powered by charitable organisation Music Forward Foundation, will now be allocating a second round of emergency grants to crew who need it the most.

Crew Nation has aided approximately 15,000 crew members in over 40 countries and across all 50 states

In order to qualify for a grant, applicants must have previously received a Crew Nation grant and will be required to show the need for emergency funding for covering costs such as housing or critical medical expenses.

Artists including Justin Timberlake, Anderson .Paak and Kesha made contributions towards the fund, while partners and brands including Live From The Drive-In, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball came up with creative ways to encourage donations, and countries including Spain (pictured) and Germany organised their own Crew Nation benefit concerts.

Most recently, Kings of Leon raised $500,000 for Crew Nation through the proceeds of one of their NFTs (non-fungible tokens).

Anyone who wants to contribute can either donate money or buy limited-edition merch, and all proceeds will go directly to the fund.


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Italy’s music sector allotted €50m after ‘The Last Concert’

Italy’s music industry has been allocated €50 million by the government following ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?), a campaign which has been defined as ‘one of the largest webmobs’ the sector has seen.

The initiative, promoted by KeepOn LiveArci and Assomusica in collaboration with Live DMA, launched on social media at the end of January 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.

The culmination of the campaign involved 130 Italian venues livestreaming ‘silent’ performances from renowned artists including Lacuna Coil on 27 February, marking a full year since the first venues closed and stages fell silent.

Two days after the event, minister for culture Dario Franceschini announced that a new decree had been signed, allocating €50m for live clubs, concerts, authors, artists, performers and performers.

Fifteen million euros is dedicated to live clubs and other operators in the live music sector, €10m to concert organisers to compensate losses due to cancelled dates or missed dates, and €25m to authors, performers and performers for missed collections.

AssociaMusica, the Italian association of live event organisers and producers, says The Last Concert has given way to ‘a new phase of reflection and awareness’ about the future and sustainability of the sector.


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New funding rounds announced in UK

Millions of pounds worth of further grants and loans have been made available in England and Scotland to help the UK live industry recover from Covid-19.

Arts Council England (ACE) has opened applications for a second round of repayable finance for culturally significant organisations in England.

The programme, which is part of the UK Government’s £1.57 billion Cultural Recovery Fund (CRF), aims to support those organisations as they transition back to a ‘viable and sustainable operating model’ during the 2021/22 financial year.

The budget for the second round is up to £100 million and the minimum amount that can be applied for is £1m. The final round of CRF grants, totalling around £300m, are expected to open for applications in early January.

Organisations who have previously been awarded a CRF loan are not eligible to apply for further CRF loans, while previously successful grant applicants can.

Last week, the Government and ACE announced the first-round recipients of the repayable finance scheme which included London venues the Royal Albert Hall (£20.74m) and Southbank Centre, while Alexandra Palace (pictured) was awarded £2,967,600 from the £60m Capital Kickstart Fund. The latest grants and loans marked a milestone £1bn in funding allocated.

Elsewhere, the Scottish government has announced an extra £13 million to provide further support for the events sector in Scotland.

Of this, £6 million has been committed for the establishment of a new fund which will open this week to support those event businesses which are critical to Scotland’s events sector, and without which the capacity to deliver major events would be significantly reduced.

“This [£13m] will help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery”

The Pivotal Event Businesses Fund will provide grants from £25,000 up to a maximum of £150,000 to support approximately 50 to 100 event businesses whose primary role as organisers, suppliers, contractors and venues is critical to the survival of the events sector in Scotland, and upon whom the wider events industry and supply chain are most reliant for their own business and operations.

The remaining funding will be used to set up a separate fund to provide broader support to businesses across the full range of the events sector, including the supply chain, and will be announced early in the new year.

The latest funding follows the £10 million announced by the culture secretary in July for the events industry, of which £6 million was allocated to the now-closed Event Industry Support Fund while £2 million was allocated to Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund currently being run by EventScotland.

“The events sector has faced severe challenges throughout 2020 as the restrictions necessary to contain the coronavirus pandemic have left most businesses unable to operate. While the arrival of a vaccine offers grounds for hope, the events sector and its wider supply chain will continue to experience difficulties for some time to come,” says culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

“We were able to provide financial support for the events sector in the autumn but we have continued to listen and we acknowledge that further funding is required. This additional £13 million will allow us to help hard-pressed businesses going forward and ensure that they are ready to support the recovery when it is safe to operate again.

“Scotland has a well-earned reputation for delivering successful events at local, national and international level. We are working collaboratively with the industry to ensure that the sector has a future to look forward to and that we maintain our position as the perfect stage for events.”


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Aus festivals receive share of gov’s $75m Rise fund

The promoters behind Australian festivals including Bluesfest, Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival are among the first recipients of the federal government’s AU$75 million Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (Rise) fund.

The fund is part of the government’s $250 m Creative Economy Support Package to help restart activities such as festivals, concerts, tours and events once it is safe to do so.

Music festivals in New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria were among the first recipients of the Rise fund, with Byron Bay Bluesfest receiving $1 m for its 2021 event to run between 1–5 April over the Easter long weekend.

The event, which normally draws 100,000 patrons, was cancelled this year when Covid restrictions came into effect, weeks before it was expected to go ahead.

An economic impact report showed that the cancellation of Byron Bay Bluesfest deprived the state of New South Wales of over $200m and 1,150 jobs.

This week, Bluesfest revealed that it has dropped all international names from its bill and is debuting a completely domestic lineup featuring Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana, Ocean Alley and more. The festival revealed that four months out, 70% of tickets have been sold.

Other NSW recipients include Secret Sounds, the promoters behind Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival (both of which were cancelled this year), which will receive $1.5 m to develop a new festival ‘that would keep audiences connected while also reaching new audiences across Australia and overseas’.

“My message to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector is – we want you back out there doing what you do best”

Reportedly, the new festival will be among the additional events that Secret Sounds has applied to host at the Byron Parklands site.

In the first round, NSW has received $17.8 m which will go to 28 organisations while Victoria has received $20 m for 48 projects.

Successful applicants in Victoria include Melbourne International Arts Festival/Rising ($1.48 m); Melbourne Fringe ($275,000); and Castlemaine State Festival in regional Victoria ($172,900).

The arts sector has expressed impatience with the minister’s office over the time it has taken to announce the recipients. A full list is to be published by the Office for the Arts in mid-December.

“As well as generating jobs and income, the Rise fund means there will be lots of shows that Australians can go and see – and that’s good news for all of us after a tough year,” says minister for communications, cyber safety and the arts, Paul Fletcher.

“And my message to Australia’s artists and performers, to backstage crew, to everyone in the arts and entertainment sector, is – we want you back out there doing what you do best, and Rise is going to really help that happen.”

The federal government has also published a roadmap for “reactivating live performance venues and events” in Australia. The guidelines break up the return to live music into three steps, though it delegates decision making on capacities to state jurisdictions. It projects an ultimate return to standing concerts only in outdoor and “mixed” performance spaces.

Festivals are also projected to make their return after the final step, with restrictions.


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Denmark increases aid, announces restart team

The Danish government has announced a further DKK 450 million in aid for culture and sports, as well as DKK 50m for a new ‘restart team’.

The DKK 450m will go towards extending a large number of compensation schemes dedicated to culture and sport until 31 January 2021.

While the DKK 50m will fund a restart team which will come up with recommendations and proposals for how culture and sports can take place under the current restrictions.

“Cultural life, sports and association life are hit particularly hard by the crisis. That is why there is special help for these areas in the new political agreement,” says minister of culture Joy Mogensen.

“I am glad that we can hold out a hand to both cultural institutions and performers throughout the country. We’re allocating funds to a restart team that can work with new, creative solutions for how the Danes’ cultural life best lasts during and after the crisis.”

“Dansk Live is deeply committed to ensuring that larger concerts and festivals can be carried out next summer”

According to promoters’ association Dansk Live, the support package will siphon off DKK 300m for music.

“For Dansk Live, this pool is crucial for the further survival of the venues. In our view, it has been crucial to get the activity pool extended and ensure that the pool was large enough to cover all applicants. The extension has been included in the agreement – the pool is DKK 300 million and runs until and including 31 January 2021. Given the circumstances, it is really good,” says Esben Marcher at Dansk Live.

“We are deeply committed to the work of establishing methods which ensure that larger concerts and festivals can be carried out if Covid-19 remains a challenge next summer, but we also believe that the state should be more involved in the work. That is why we want to work to ensure that this becomes part of the terms of reference for the restart team,” concludes Marcher.

Currently, Denmark is permitting a maximum of 500 people at seated, socially distanced events – one of the highest limits in Europe, where many countries have gone into lockdown or drastically reduced capacities.

The Danish government has been encouraging live events throughout the autumn, even offering substantial subsidies to fund socially-distanced events, such as concerts, taking place during September and October.


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