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UK live sector commits to reaching net zero by 2030

The UK’s live sector has committed to reaching net-zero emissions by the year 2030, as part of a new campaign to deliver climate action.

The campaign, spearheaded by LIVE Green – the sustainability arm of live music umbrella trade body LIVE, will set out a roadmap for how live music businesses can accelerate their transition to a low carbon future in line with the Paris Agreement.

The initiative will also provide research, expertise and cross-industry innovation in order to support the sector’s transition to a regenerative future, and will aim to ensure meaningful climate investments are made to achieve the sector’s collective targets.

All 13 association members of LIVE – including AIF, MVT, NAA and CPA – have ratified a voluntary sector-specific commitment to deliver measurable and targeted action on climate change.

“We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal”

Signatories of the ‘Beyond Zero Declaration’ agree to:

· Work with LIVE Green to set reduction targets and reduce operational and business travel Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, reporting on progress annually.

· Develop a net-zero roadmap and action plan – taking responsibility for actions in energy, waste, procurement, transport, food and governance.

· Understand and define emissions within value chains, follow best practice to affect change in areas outside of direct control and collaborate with suppliers and clients to reduce them.

· Ensure staff undertake climate education and have an ongoing commitment to knowledge sharing within the live music sector and beyond.

Members of Live Green’s working group include Julie’s Bicycle, AGreenerFestival, Powerful Thinking, Vision: 2025 and The Tour Production Group.

John Langford, AEG Europe COO and chair of LIVE Green, says: “We are now at a tipping point for our climate: this is not a rehearsal.

“Although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts”

“We want to tap into the power of music to help deliver a step-change in the environmental impact of our sector – from carbon emissions through to plastic waste – helping us demonstrate that moving faster towards decarbonisation is a route to a competitive advantage.”

Tom Schroeder, Partner at Paradigm Talent Agency, added: “There can be no shying away from the environmental impact of our global business, and although there has been significant progress across the live music sector, now is the time to accelerate our efforts.

“By bringing together the active specialists and initiatives under one banner, LIVE Green is pioneering a means to fast-track decarbonisation across the sector through education, awareness and tangible action. We look forward to building on the sector’s progress so far, to make our low carbon future a reality.”

LIVE builds on significant efforts across the sector to boost sustainability, ranging from the end of single-use plastic at festivals to sector-wide efforts to reduce the environmental impact of touring.

The Beyond Zero Declaration was revealed at today’s (16 September) Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), followed by a discussion between Langford, Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).


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GEI enlists industry titans for summer edition

With less than four weeks to go, the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) has announced a new raft of panels and speakers for its Summer Edition.

The conference will be streamed online on 16 September via Hopin, with speakers joining both live and virtually from the Virtual Venue, powered by 100% renewable energy.

Newly announced speakers include Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Dave Ojay (NAAM Festival), Amber Etre (Christie Lites), Fay Milton (Savages) and Celia Palau Lodge (Cooking Vinyl Records).

Samm Farai Munro (Magamba Network), Meegan Jones (Sea, Great Ocean Race), Stuart McPherson (KB Event) and Jamal Chalabi (Backlash Productions) are also new to the billing.

Elsewhere on the agenda, the umbrella group representing the UK live industry, LIVE, will be giving delegates an exclusive first look at its ‘Live Green Declaration‘.

LIVE will be giving delegates an exclusive first look at its ‘Live Green Declaration’

John Langford (AEG Europe), Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live) and Clementine Bunel (Paradigm) are among the speakers who will be discussing the declaration, which sets out a vision for sustainability in the live industry.

The newly formed Tour Production Group (TPG) will also be delivering a key session at this year’s summer edition, ‘A Greener Tour – V for Vendor‘.

Moderated by TPG founder Wob Roberts, the session will delve into the opportunities, obstacles and actions for the greener tours of the near future, with a special focus on vendors.

The session will include Amber Etra (Christie Lights), Robert Trebus (d&b audiotechnik), Stuart McPherson (KB Event Ltd), Jamal Chalabi (Backlash Productions) and David NG Lawrence (DNG Production).

Organisers expect 200+ delegates to attend the first GEI Summer Edition, tickets for which are on sale now. The schedule can be viewed here.

GEI is A Greener Festival’s annual flagship event, delivered in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London. It has been running for over 13 years and welcomes delegates and speakers who are leaders in the event sector, sustainability and regenerative economies.

 


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Music and theatre sue UK govt for pilot show data

Live music industry body LIVE and a range of theatre businesses, including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, Cameron Mackintosh, Michael Harrison and Sonia Friedman, have commenced legal proceedings against the UK government to force it to hand over the report from its series of test events, the Events Research Programme (ERP).

The ERP is the government’s research into Covid-19 mitigations in sport, entertainment and business conferences settings. The music industry and theatre businesses have repeatedly called on the government to outline the scientific basis for its decision to maintain restrictions on events. Despite portions of the ERP economic impact assessment being leaked to the media this week, the government refused calls from many MPs in a debate on Tuesday 22 June to release the report in full.

Several UK festivals, including Kendal Calling, Truck and Let’s Rock, have cited the non-release of the ERP data as a reason for cancelling their 2021 events. “Without this safety guidance, there are numerous aspects of the festival we cannot plan, and which could lay us wide open to last minute unforeseen regulations or requirements which could scupper an already built festival,” reads a statement from Kendal Calling, which cancelled earlier this week.

Stuart Galbraith, CEO of Kilimanjaro Live (which recently acquired Let’s Rock) and co-founder of LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), the representative body for the live music industry, says: “The live music industry has been very willing to work with government for the last year to show that our industry can operate safely. But it is intolerable that after running pilot shows for the government’s Events Research Programme, at our own cost, we have been blocked from seeing the results, leaving the whole sector in limbo with the real chance that the entire summer could collapse for the second year running.

“Even now, the live music sector has no idea what the rest of the summer brings, and we are left with a complete inability to plan ahead due to the government’s continued unwillingness to provide some form of insurance to enable events to move forward.”

“The govt’s actions are forcing theatre and music companies off a cliff as the summer wears on, whilst cherry-picking high-profile sporting events to go ahead”

In the legal action, lodged today, the parties assert that the government has “flagrantly breached the ‘duty of candour’ which requires it to be transparent when faced with a legal challenge and that none of the reasons given for withholding the Events Research Programme material they seek withstand scrutiny”. They have asked the court to consider their application at an urgent hearing as soon as possible.

“The government’s actions are forcing theatre and music companies off a cliff as the summer wears on, whilst cherry-picking high-profile sporting events to go ahead,” comments theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber. “The situation is beyond urgent.”

As well as declining to publish the ERP results, the bodies argue that the British government is yet to provide any form of insurance scheme for the sector or to make it clear what kind of ongoing mitigations may be required in the future – effectively making it impossible to plan for any live entertainment business. According to recent research from LIVE the potential four-week delay to reopening will lead to around 5,000 live music gigs being cancelled, as well as numerous theatre productions across the country, costing hundreds of millions of pounds in lost income.

Peter Gabriel, speaking for WOMAD Festival, says: “Without immediate government intervention, the festival industry is on the brink of collapse. That doesn’t mean cash, it means providing the certainty to enable us to deliver festivals, guidance on safety, and an understanding of how their timing affects us in the real world.

“We struggle to understand why these trials took place if the government can’t now tell us the results and how that will affect all of us”

“At the end of this week, WOMAD will be faced with one very difficult and heart-wrenching decision. Millions of pounds of investment and the livelihood of around five thousand people are at stake. Several pilot events have been successfully run over recent months. But, like other festival teams, we need to be told what that research means for WOMAD. We struggle to understand why these trials took place if the government can’t now tell us the results and how that will affect all of us.”

While today’s suit focuses on forcing the government to release the findings of its pilot programme, the suit is also critical of the lack of guidance for the forthcoming step four – the final stage of reopening, provisionally scheduled for 19 July. Lack of clear guidance was a contributing factor to Kendal Calling cancelling earlier this week despite it taking place after the step 4 date.

Craig Hassall, CEO of the Royal Albert Hall, says: “The chronic uncertainty and endless indecisiveness from government, and pilot events with no published results, have damaged audience confidence and further harmed a sector that has already been decimated by the pandemic. For as long as venues like the Royal Albert Hall, and hundreds more across the country, are prevented from effectively operating with no justification, we cannot play our part in supporting the critical ecosystem of freelancers, small businesses and suppliers who rely on us and who are so desperately in need of work.”

Live entertainment and theatre generate £11.25 billion in gross value added each year, and the sectors support just under one million jobs between them.

LIVE’s members are the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), Association for Electronic Music (AFEM), Association of Festival Organisers (AFO), Association of Independent Promoters (AIP), British Association of Concert Halls (BACH), Concert Promoters Association (CPA), Featured Artist Coalition (FAC), The Entertainment Agents’ Association (TEAA), Music Venue Trust (MVT), Music Managers Forum (MMF), National Arenas Association (NAA), Production Services Association (PSA) and Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR).

 


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UK fury as government delays reopening date

The British government today (14 June) confirmed that live entertainment businesses will have to endure another month of closure, after deciding that the 21 June date on its roadmap to recovery should be delayed while it deals with the spread of the Delta (Indian) variant of Covid-19.

The devastating decision places numerous businesses in jeopardy, wiping an estimated 5,000 concerts, festivals and events from the calendar and costing the UK industry hundreds of millions of pounds in lost revenues.

“Following more than a year of confusion, lost revenue and cancellations, we are devastated the government has not set out any clear path for the restart of the live music industry,” reads a statement from trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment). “The government has been quick to talk up the success of the vaccine rollout, but other countries are now ahead of us in opening up full capacity events with simple Covid certification processes, including the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States.

 “The government must also provide urgent emergency financial support to those impacted by today’s decision. There are hundreds of millions of pounds from the much-vaunted Culture Recovery Fund unallocated, despite being 15 months on from the start of the crisis. This money needs to get into the industry without any more delay.” 

“It is devastating for the live music sector that we continue to be hit with arbitrary restrictions which make live events unviable,” says Lucy Noble, chair of the National Arenas Association. “The Events Research Programme pilot events were supposed to be the key to getting back to full-capacity live performance, and we understand that there were only 15 cases out of 58,000 attendees – although government is refusing to either publish the full report or to allow the sector to open up with the carefully planned precautions which we have been planning and putting in place for months.” 

“It is devastating for the live music sector that we continue to be hit with arbitrary restrictions which make live events unviable”

“LIVE remains astounded that the findings have never published in full, given their centrality to the reopening of live events,” continues the statement. “This data must be published immediately so that the sector is able to see on what basis the government is making decisions about the industry’s future, and so that we can play a collaborative role in future proofing live events for years to come.”

“Failure to take immediate action to support the sector could tip many hundreds of grassroots music venues into the abyss,” comments Music Venue Trust (MVT) CEO Mark Davyd.

“The issue is not simply about a delay in reopening or lifting restrictions. It may on the surface look like a short and manageable pause. But there is no provision in place to bridge the resultant funding gap should this occur. Without some certainty on exactly when grassroots music venues can start trading at full capacity again the majority of the sector, already barely surviving on life support, could flat line.”

Davyd’s plea for financial support has been echoed throughout the nation’s live music community.

“The briefing we are seeing of a delay to our reopening later this month is devastating to the live music industry,” “The government said the Events Research Programme would give us the evidence we needed to open safely. We have spent the last three months participating in, and paying for, full-capacity pilot events that gave us this evidence.

“To protect the future of our industry we are calling for full transparency from the government, for them to release the full report that proves how we can open safely and to work with us to give everyone the summer of music we all want.”

“The government said the Events Research Programme would give us the evidence we needed to open safely”

Meanwhile, a flash survey conducted on behalf of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) reveals the hammer blow that the rumoured delay will have on nightlife business such as clubs and venues, with one in four businesses stating they will not survive longer than one month without further government support, while 50% of the industry say they would not survive longer than two months without aid.

The NTIA research notes that 54% of businesses have spent more than £15,000 in preparation for reopening on 21 June already, while 17.8% have spent more than £40,000. And 58% of businesses estimate they will lose more than £10,000 per week in revenue whilst restricted from trading due to easing of lockdown on 21 June, and a third of businesses estimate they will lose 30% of their workforce due to any delay.

“Night-time economy businesses have waited patiently for their opportunity to open for over 15 months,” says NTIA CEO Michael Kill. “Many have not survived, some are on a financial cliff edge, hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost, a huge pool of talent has been swept away and others have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship.

“Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, as businesses are left to fall, any decision to delay without clarity on when they can open will leave us no other option but to challenge the government, standing alongside many other industries who have been locked down or restricted from opening for an extreme length of time, through no fault of their own, and at their own cost.”

And Kill notes, “Any delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in workforce leaving the sector, and customers who are starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well operated, licensed and regulated.”

“The government must understand the human impact of this decision”

“The government must understand the human impact of this decision, not only considering the public health challenges of the virus but also the people within our sector who are suffering terribly and the real health risks that this represents, given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination roll-out, and the ability for the sector to deliver Covid-safe environments.”

Davyd says, “With no funding in place to mitigate any delay in reopening we will see mass evictions and foreclosures by landlords and creditors who ran out of patience a long time ago. The risk of business closures, widespread redundancies and the decimation of our sector is as real now as it was in April 2020.

“The government has the tools it needs to avert a disaster, whatever decisions it needs to make. It has allocated an additional £300 million to support the cultural sector; the prime minister or the culture secretary can swiftly announce that this money will be immediately released to tackle the challenges caused by any delay to reopening.”

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), says while “AIF understands the rationale for delaying step four of the lockdown roadmap”, “any measures that prevent festivals from operating fully have to be counterbalanced with effective support to ensure businesses can survive.

“For those festival organisers that still have a chance of staging events after July 19, that support is government-backed insurance, which will give them the confidence to continue planning and commit the significant costs that entails. We also must not forget those festivals that have already been forced to cancel or will do so as a result of the delay – they will need a swift and comprehensive financial package to help them survive until the 2022 sales cycle.”

“Any measures that prevent festivals operating have to be counterbalanced with effective support”

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, chief executive of UK Music, is also renewing calls for a government-backed insurance fund. “This delay is also exactly why our industry has desperately needed a government-backed insurance scheme,” he says. “Confidence will be at rock bottom within the sector after today – and so festival and event organisers desperately need that safety net from the Government so they can plan with confidence and avoid financial ruin if the rules change again.

“The UK has one of the most vibrant live music scenes in the world, and the music industry is one of the sectors that should be driving our economic and cultural recovery from this pandemic. If the industry is not to be allowed to operate without restrictions for another month, then continued economic support and an insurance scheme is more vital than ever.”

“If there is to be a one-month delay,” concludes LIVE, “the government must spend that time ensuring there is a simple Covid certification scheme in place by the end of it to ensure that full- capacity events can go ahead, as they are now doing in other countries such the US, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. Businesses remain unable to plan or proceed in any meaningful way, leaving them hamstrung as part of an industry in limbo.

“With hundreds of millions of pounds of the Culture Recovery Fund left unallocated within government, this needs to be pushed out to the music and live entertainment industries urgently to tide the sector over until a concrete way forward is agreed.”

 


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21 June: Delay would lead to 5,000 UK cancellations

Research published today (10 June) shows that even a four-week delay to the deadline for lifting the final restrictions on live events in the UK would cost the live music sector over £500 million and leave the summer festival season at risk of total collapse.

More than 5,000 shows by artists including Olly Murs, Tom Odell, Rag’n’Bone Man, Beverley Knight, McFly, Alexandra Burke and Rudimental would either need to cancel or postpone if the 21 June deadline was pushed back, incurring immediate costs across the live music supply chain and further damaging an industry already hanging in the balance, according to industry body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment).

The rumoured move, as IQ reported earlier this week, comes despite the fact that, by the government’s own evidence, large-scale events can happen safely with the right precautions in place.

Through LIVE, a federation of 13 associations representing more than 3,000 live music companies, the live sector is calling for government to publish the data from the first round of Events Research Programme (ERP) pilots, so “they are able to follow their own science” and allow live businesses to reopen with Covid-safe precautions. The ERP findings which have been released by government to the media show that with screening, improved ventilation and other mitigating factors, mass events are reportedly as safe as a trip to the supermarket.

“We implore the government to follow their own scientific data that proves live events are safe with the right mitigations”

Lucy Noble, chair of the National Arenas Association, says: “The pilot shows at the Brits and Liverpool were touted as the key to getting back to full-capacity live performance, which is why it’s extremely frustrating that the government refuses to publish the full report and allow the sector to open up through the carefully planned precautions which are currently waiting in the wings.

“We implore the government to follow their own scientific data that proves live events are safe with the right mitigations. Now is the time for them to protect the live events sector for generations to come.”

Any delay to the 21 June reopening date would have significant and immediate repercussions for grassroots music venues, with 248 venues facing an immediate threat of eviction if the government does not fully compensate their financial losses from delayed reopening, says Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust.

“In the event of any delay to reopening, government action to restore confidence to the sector will need to be swift, decisive and comprehensive,” says Davyd. “Any decision to delay places the sector in the most perilous and uncertain situation since April 2020. All that has been done by government, the public, artist and communities to save our venues risks being undone.”

“We cannot keep waiting indefinitely without knowing when step four will take place”

The UK’s much-anticipated summer festival season would also see significant casualties, with 65% of all Association of Independent Festivals members saying they will be forced to cancel if faced with a five-week delay – and 21% already gone.

Jim King, CEO of European festivals for AEG Presents, comments: “A delay into July without a clear road map to get back to step four [full lockdown lifting] puts an impossible strain on all festivals, including AEG’s All Points East festival, along with our suppliers across the industry.

“We cannot keep waiting indefinitely without knowing when step four will take place, and this uncertainty will undoubtedly result, by default, in more cancellations. We are desperate for the UK festival season to begin again, but an undated reopening makes long term planning and investment unfeasible.”

 


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LIVE survey: UK fans eager to return to shows ASAP

UK trade body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) has conducted a survey of 25,000 music fans, the results of which reveal an overwhelming desire for live music to return as quickly as possible.

More than half of fans are ready to attend music events right now if they could with a further 25% willing to come back with safety measures in place, according to the results of the survey.

The findings also show that the majority of fans (85%) are planning on attending either the same or higher numbers of live music events when they reopen than before the pandemic and more than half of fans (55%) have already bought tickets for live music events in the coming months.

Among those who are yet to buy their tickets, one-third are waiting for more gigs to come on sale rather than being deterred by the pandemic.

The top three reasons fans want to return to gigs are seeing an artist that they love (91%), the joy that live music brings (89%) and spending time with friends (69%). The majority of respondents (64%) stated that attending live music events boosts their mental health.

In further encouraging news, music fans are largely accepting of proposed Covid-prevention measures with 75% of respondents confirming they would be happy with the idea of Covid certification to attend an event.

“It’s great that the passion of live music fans has endured and after a long wait fans want to go to more shows than ever”

Hand sanitiser stations, temperature checking and one-way systems are the simple mitigations fans would like to see when events return, though 41% of respondents said they would be put off attending an event if they had to wear a face mask.

The survey is the most detailed research yet conducted on the attitudes of UK music fans towards the return of live events and how they want them to be run in a post-pandemic world.

“It’s great that the passion of live music fans has endured the pandemic, and after a long wait fans want to go to more shows than ever,” says Chris Carey, chief economist of LIVE. It is especially encouraging to see how quickly fans want to get back to live.”

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, says: “After a devastating year for the live music industry it is fantastic to see the strength of feeling from fans across the UK who are desperate to get back to live music events. The industry has worked tirelessly to ensure that we can return as quickly and safely as possible.

“It is notable that fans are willing to live with short-term mitigation measures in order to get back to live music as quickly as possible, with three quarters saying that they would be happy with a Covid-certification system as part of those measures.”

 


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UK live industry states support for Covid certification

Live music, entertainment, exhibition, events and indoor sports associations and businesses have pledged their support for Covid-status certification as a means to fully reopen venues.

In an open letter, signatories including AEG Europe, the Entertainment Agents’ Association, Kilimanjaro Live, the Concert Promoters’ Association, Ticketmaster, ASM Global, the Association of Festival Organisers, NEC Group and umbrella body LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) state they are willing to work with the British government to implement Covid-status certification – ie ensuring all attendees are free from Covid-19 – at venues in order to get the industry back on its feet safely.

The signatories note that while under the current ‘roadmap’ live shows may return from 17 May with social distancing, the limit of 50% capacity indoors is unviable for the vast majority of businesses, who require at least 80% capacity as the economic threshold for their events.

As an alternative to social distancing, they propose certification – not be confused with vaccine ‘passports’, the idea of which has proven controversial in the UK – that all eventgoers are either vaccinated against Covid-19; have natural immunity to the disease; or have had a negative test within a set period of time prior to arrival.

“The intention of Covid-status certification is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays”

“The intention of Covid-status certification,” they write, “is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays or a poor experience for visitors.”

The letter, which can be read in full below, is also signed by non-live music bodies including Plasa (the Professional Lighting and Sound Association), #WeMakeEvents, the Meetings Industry Association, the Event Supplier and Services Association, Badminton England and British Athletics.

The sectors represented say they would support a blanket industry-wide introduction of Covid-status certification on a temporary basis following the planned relaxation of all capacity limits from 21 June. “We would expect that any certification is imposed fairly across the economy, reviewed regularly and removed when it is safe to do so.”

While vaccine passports, such as Israel’s green pass, have enabled the resumption of live entertainment in some territories, they are controversial in the UK due to privacy concerns, as well as for perceived discrimination against the unvaccinated, with the opposition Labour party having taken a stand against their introduction.

 


The live events and music industry will work with the Government on COVID-status certification to support full reopening and sector recovery.

The live events and music industry which includes exhibitions; conferences; music arenas; festivals; theatres and indoor sporting events, welcomes the establishment of the Events Research Programme and the safe return of live events as part of the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown.

The industry is committed to working with the Government to ensure a swift delivery of the Event Research Programme’s pilot events and stands ready to establish protocols based upon the information and guidance they provide.

Under the current roadmap, the live events and music industry can plan for the return of some indoor business and music events from 17 May. These will follow social distancing guidelines and have attendance capped to the lower of 1,000 people or 50% of capacity indoors, 4,000 or 50% capacity outdoors and 10,000 or 25% capacity if seated outdoors. However, given the economic threshold for most business and music events is around 80% of maximum capacity, activities under these limits will be far from sufficient to end the sector’s financial crisis. This will also continue to have grave economic impacts on sectors that every live event supports, including but not limited to, hospitality, production, transport and logistics.

The Government’s reviews announced in the roadmap (COVID-status certification, social distancing, and the Events Research Programme) will explore different access control measures that businesses could be legally required to introduce. One that continues to be hotly debated in the press is the introduction of COVID-status certification. Not to be confused with the term ‘vaccination passports’, the simple premise is to reduce the likelihood of people who may be infected from attending events and ensure the safety of other attendees and event staff. This would be managed by ensuring that all attendees are either vaccinated OR have natural immunity OR have a negative COVID test within a set period of time prior to arrival. COVID tests are now available free of charge to all UK adults. The intention of COVID-status certification is to find a non-discriminatory solution that is safe, simple, protects privacy and doesn’t cause unnecessary delays or a poor experience for visitors.

The industry welcomes that the Events Research Programme is considering whether COVID-certification can be used as an enabler of all event types to return to capacity audiences, without masks or social distancing. We would support a blanket, industry-wide introduction of COVID-status certification on a temporary basis, to permit the full relaxation of capacity limits from 21 June, Stage Four of the Government’s roadmap. Implementation would be subject to the provision of clear and timely guidance from the Government, it being simple to understand and be of little cost to businesses. We would expect that any certification is imposed fairly across the economy, reviewed regularly, and removed when it is safe to do so.  

The introduction of COVID-status certificates as a temporary measure could be a pragmatic solution that would enable events to resume at commercially viable attendance levels and will also give further confidence to customers that events are safe to attend.  

We recognise there are many issues to be addressed including how the technology would work, its viability for use at a range of different events and related data protection issues, for both the attendees and the organisers. The industry is committed to working at speed with the Government to help address these issues over the coming weeks as part of its considerations. It is essential that the industry has visibility and certainty as soon as possible on the form this government guidance will take so that it is able to plan effectively. This is particularly important given many major live music and business events are planned from late June and onwards and the sector typically requires a lead time of anywhere between three to six months to successfully stage large scale, organised meetings, events and performances.

The live events and music industry is confident that if the introduction of a robust COVID-status certification programme is recommended by the Government to enable the full reopening of capacity events, together with other calibrated, evidence-based mitigation measures, it would provide safe environments for all visitors, staff and audiences. The industry is more than capable of implementing additional health and safety practices; working with the Government, this can be done if all parties take a timely and transparent approach.

Live events are a part of our nation’s DNA, enriching our culture and commerce, boosting the economy by over £70 billion per year. It is time for their return. We look forward to working with the Government in resuming live events in a safe and sustainable manner and ensuring their role in contributing to both the economic success and cultural wealth of the UK returns.

Signed,

Exhibition and Conferences
Agribriefing
Rupert Levy, Group Finance Director
Harrogate Convention Centre
Paula Lorimer, Director
NEC Group
Paul Thandi CBE, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Event Organisers (AEO)
Chris Skeith, Chief Executive Officer
Hyve Group PLC
Mark Shashoua, Chief Executive Officer
Nineteen Group
Peter Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Event Venues (AEV)
Rachel Parker, Director
Immediate Live
Paul Byrom, Managing Director
Olympia London
Nigel Nathan, Managing Director
Business Design Centre
Dominic Jones, Chief Executive Officer
Informa Markets
Mark Temple-Smith, Chief Operating Officer
P&J Live
Nick Waight, Managing Director
Clarion Events
Russell Wilcox, Chief Executive Officer
Manchester Central
Shaun Hinds, Chief Executive Officer
Reed Exhibitions UK
Anna Dycheva-Smirnova, Chief Executive Officer
CloserStill Media
Philip Soar, Executive Chairman
Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA)
James Selka, Chief Executive Officer
SEC
Peter Duthie, Chief Executive Officer
Events Industry Alliance (EIA)
Lou Kiwanuka, Chair
Media 10
Lee Newton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Tarsus Group PLC
Douglas Emslie, Chief Executive Officer
Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA)
Andrew Harrison, Director
Meetings Industry Association
Jane Longhurst, Chief Executive
William Reed
Andrew Reed, Managing Director, Events & Exhibitions
ExCeL London
Jeremy Rees, Chief Executive Officer
Montgomery
Damion Angus, Managing Director
Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre
Gareth Rogers, Chief Executive Officer
NCC Events
John Lally, Chief Executive Officer
Music, Ticketing, Theatre and Comedy
AEG Europe
John Langford, Chief Operating Officer
LIVE (Live Music Industry Venues and Entertainment)
Greg Parmley, Chief Executive Officer
Really Useful Group
Jessica Koravos, President
AEG Presents UK
Steve Homer, Co-CEO
Marshall Arts
Barrie Marshall MBE/ Doris Dixon, Chairman/Director
Royal Albert Hall
Lucy Noble, Artistic and Commercial Director
ASM UK
John Sharkey, Executive Vice President for Europe
On behalf of: AO Arena Manchester, Bonus Arena, First Direct Arena, P&J Live, The SSE Arena, Wembley, Utilita Arena Newcastle.
Mick Perrin Worldwide
Mick Perrin, Managing Director
See Tickets
Rob Wilmshurst, Chief Executive Officer
Association for Electronic Music
Greg Marshall, General Manager
Music Managers Forum
Annabella Coldrick, Chief Executive Officer
Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR)
Jonathan Brown, Chief Executive Officer
Association of Festival Organisers
Steve Heap, General Secretary
Music Venue Trust 
Mark Davyd, Chief Executive Officer
The Entertainment Agents Association 
Tarquin Shaw-Young, Chair
Association of Independent Festivals 
Paul Reed, Chief Operating Officer
National Arenas Association (NAA)
Lucy Noble, Chair
The O2
Steve Sayer, VP & General Manager
British Association of Concert Halls
Kevin Appleby, Chair
Nottingham Arena
Martin Ingham, Chief Executive Officer
The SSE Hydro
Debbie McWilliams, Director of Live Entertainment
Concert Promoters Association (CPA)
Phil Bowdery, Chair
Phil McIntyre Entertainment
Phil McIntyre/Paul Roberts,
Owner/MD
Ticketmaster UK
Andrew Parsons, Managing Director
Featured Artists Coalition
David Martin, General Manager
Production Services Association 
Dave Keighley, Chair
#WeMakeEvents
Duncan Bell, Steering Committee Lead
Kilimanjaro Live Group
Stuart Galbraith, CEO
Professional Lighting and Sound Association (PLASA)
Peter Heath, Managing Director
Indoor Sports
Badminton England
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive Officer
Grandstand Group
Emma Wardell, Event Director
Queensberry Promotions
Frank Warren, Founder
British Athletics
Ryan Murphy, Commercial Director
Matchroom Sport
Eddie Hearn/ Frank Smith,
MD Matchroom Sport/CEO Matchroom Boxing
ESL UK
James Dean, Chief Executive Officer
PDC
Matthew Porter, Chief Executive Officer

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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Chris Carey joins LIVE as chief economist

Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE) has appointed Chris Carey to the role of chief economist, as the umbrella organisation expands with the formation of several specialist subcommittees.

Carey joins the LIVE team following stints as global insight director at EMI and Universal Music Group and senior economist at PRS for Music. With Tim Chambers, he co-authored Valuing Live Entertainment and UK Live Music: At a cliff edge, two key LIVE reports which underpinned consultations with the British government around support for the live sector. Carey will also retain his current position as head of international marketing at TicketSwap in Amsterdam.

“I’m very proud to be joining the LIVE team at this critical time,” says Carey. “I have always been passionate about the UK live music sector and about the people who work all hours to make gigs and festivals happen. As the live music industry moves from crisis to reopening, I’ll be working closely with members to make sure there is a strong analytical foundation to help underpin a speedy, sustainable recovery.”

LIVE, which launched officially in February, is a federation of 13 UK live music industry associations representing 3,150 businesses, over 4,000 artists and 2,000 backstage workers.

“I’ll be working … to make sure there is a strong analytical foundation to help underpin a speedy, sustainable recovery”

Its newly announced subcommittees include:

The fourth subcommittee, scheduled to launch next month, will focus on equality, diversity and inclusivity, and is convened by Jane Beese, head of music for the Manchester International Festival.

“We are living through an extraordinary period in history,” comments Beese. “The potential for reflection and creative thinking on how we live our lives and run our businesses is immense, so I’m really excited to take on this role overseeing the LIVE diversity, equality and inclusion group. I look forward to the changes we can bring about as an industry.”

 


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LIVE lobbies government for Brexit support package

LIVE, the new body serving as the collective voice of the UK live music business, is lobbying for a transitional support package to help the industry overcome the challenges presented by Brexit. 

For the last couple of months, the live industry has been reckoning with bureaucratic visa arrangements for EU tours, after the cultural sector was excluded from the EU-UK Trade Cooperation Agreement.

Prime minister Boris Johnson yesterday (24 March) pledged to fix the work permits crisis facing touring musicians, on top of creating a UK Cultural Export Office to provide support with Brexit-related issues across the creative industries.

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) has welcomed the government’s proposal for a UK Cultural Export Office but says the industry needs urgent sector-specific support in the meantime.

The trade body is calling for a Transitional Support Package (TSP) to safeguard the future of the live music industry until the proposed UK Cultural Export Office is operational.

“After a devastating year, it’s essential that we are not now shut out from our most important international market”

According to LIVE, the Live Music Transitional Support Package (TSP) would:
• Offer a quick solution for the government to mitigate the catastrophic disruption to the live music sector caused by Brexit.
• Establish a working partnership between the government and the live music sector until the planned UK Cultural Export Office is operational.
• Prioritise emerging talent and those likely to be hardest hit by the new regulations.
• Provide support for all those on stage and everyone involved behind the scenes.

Greg Parmley, CEO of LIVE, says: “European tours are absolutely fundamental to the success of the UK live music industry. After a devastating year, it’s essential that we are not now shut out from our most important international market. LIVE is calling for a Transitional Support Package to provide the industry with the support it needs at this crucial time.”

Craig Stanley, Chair of LIVE Touring, the group tasked with the industry’s response to Brexit, says: “LIVE’s Transitional Support Package is designed to provide government with a clear template of measures that we urgently need to safeguard the UK live music industry, particularly the new and emerging talent most likely to be hardest hit by the new regulations. We are actively involved in conversations with the government about the TSP and we are pleased that they have recognised the importance of supporting the industry through this transition.”

For more information on the TSP, visit LIVE’s website here.

 


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UK live industry cautiously welcomes 2021 budget

The UK’s live music industry has welcomed many of the provisions contained in the 2021 government budget, presented this afternoon by chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, but expressed its disappointment at the continued lack of a European-style insurance scheme for festival organisers.

Among the measures unveiled by Sunak in the Commons today (3 March) are an extra £300 million for the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF), ‘restart grants’ for hospitality/leisure businesses, the extension of the coronavirus job retention scheme (furlough) and self-employed income support (SEISS) schemes, and business rate relief.

The budget also confirmed an extension of the 5% rate of VAT on ticket sales – a key campaign focus for pan-industry group LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) and the whole UK concert industry – for a further six months, with an interim rate of 12.5% until April 2022.

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, says: “We warmly welcome the extension to the reduced VAT rate on tickets, which will really help festivals during the 2021 sales cycle. For many AIF members, this is the first period in which they are selling tickets since the outset of the pandemic. We do, however, reiterate the recommendation of the DCMS select committee for VAT on ticket sales to remain at a reduced rate for three years so that the UK festival sector can fully recover.

“The Culture Recovery Fund has been a lifeline for many of our members so it’s greatly encouraging to see a further £300m invested into this, though we would appreciate some further detail on this additional round and the time period it will cover.

“Independent festival organisers would much rather mobilise their staff to plan a full and successful festival season this summer”

“We also welcome the extension to the government’s furlough scheme and continued support for the self-employed. However, independent festival organisers would much rather mobilise their staff to plan a full and successful festival season this summer. As we have repeatedly stressed, the only way they can do this is with a government-backed insurance scheme that covers Covid-19-related cancellation. The chancellor today confirmed the extension of the government backed restart scheme for film and TV productions – a similar safety net needs to be put in place before the end of March to avoid mass cancellations throughout the UK’s festival market.”

Lucy Noble, chair of the National Arenas Association, comments: “For the live music industry, today’s budget, and specifically the extension of furlough to September, is enormously welcome. The whole sector has been grateful for a 21 June ‘not before’ date for operating at full capacity, and the extension of the 5% VAT rate on tickets is something we had been hoping to see.

“Uncertainty remains, and the lack of insurance for Covid-related cancellation is a huge concern – what the entire live sector wants is to be allowed to trade safely out of this situation and once more welcome people to come together for extraordinary shared experiences.”

“Music Venue Trust welcomes the extensions to furlough, SEISS and the VAT cut on ticket sales,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. These measures are supportive of the next steps in the campaign to reopen every venue safely. On business rates, we note that the Chancellor has provided a 100% cut for the initial three-month period in which venues will not be trading. This period does not resolve the long running debate on business rates, and we look forward to a full discussion of this outdated and anachronistic taxation in the business rates review in Autumn 2021.

“The chancellor announced additional funding to be distributed by Arts Council England [ACE], but the purpose of this funding is unclear; we hope to work with ACE and DCMS to ensure it is effectively distributed, and includes sensible and structured capital investment that enables our music venues to become more Covid-secure.”

“The needs of those in mixed employment, and those individuals operating as limited companies, were not met”

Annabella Coldrick, chief executive of Music Managers Forum, says: “The MMF welcomes the extension of eligibility for support to the self-employed. This is a really important measure that should have an impact on our community and their clients, many of whom faced real hardship during the pandemic, although unfortunately directors of limited companies are still excluded. We also welcome the £300m Cultural Recovery Fund for reopening, although it was disappointing not to hear any developments on government-backed insurance for live music events which is urgently needed to get us back up and running in July.

For a full longer-term music recovery, to a place where artists can perform to full capacity crowds and tour internationally, we will need this kind of targeted and continued support reaching into 2022.”

“We welcome the continuation of support for employers and self-employed workers, as well as the addition of those newly self employed sole traders; this is tempered by the disappointment that the needs of those in mixed employment and those individuals operating as limited companies were not met,” adds Dave Keighley, chair of the Production Services Association.

“Support for companies is also broadly welcomed, although doubt over whether business rate relief applies to our members that support hospitality and leisure remains. Any discounts given to venues should be clearly extended to those companies that work in those venues, recognising that live events are an ecosystem that needs complete support. Although the extension of the 5% VAT rate helps, it needs to be extended to assist our sector’s recovery.

“The extension to the Culture Recovery Fund is encouraging, we hope that the current and subsequent rounds will support event more of our member companies that support cultural activity.”

 


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