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Tech startup launches financing for festivals

Easol, a festival, travel and event ecommerce startup in London, is launching a new financing solution designed for festival organisers.

According to the company, Easol Capital will create a “fairer, flexible and transparent financing process that puts control back in the hands of festival organisers”.

Organisers that take out an Easol Capital-facilitated loan will pay a fixed fee that is a percentage of a borrowed amount – typically 5-12% – rather than an interest rate.

Similarly, repayments will be a fixed percentage of weekly sales which means if revenue slows down, repayments do too.

Loans are expected to be repaid within 4–8 months but the company says that organisers can repay early or easily access more capital if their circumstances change.

Easol says organisers can create a free application within minutes, and receive a decision within a day. If approved, the loan can be withdrawn immediately.

Loans are currently live in the UK and the US, with organisers able to apply for between £1,000 and £1.5 million.

“We feel that organisers have not been given the flexibility that they require from many traditional ticketing platforms”

The company says there are plans to expand loan sizes and enter most European markets in the next few months.

“We feel that festival and event organisers have not been given the flexibility that they require from many traditional ticketing platforms and finance solutions, for too long,” says Ben Simpson, co-founder and CEO of Easol.

“We’re super proud to launch Easol Capital so that we can offer an alternative that works with organisers rather than tying them into terms which may not work for them in terms of cash flow flexibility and in the long term. More than ever, the pandemic has highlighted to us the importance of flexibility and adaptability, particularly given the unique nature of the festival sales cycle.

“With the simple and fixed fee structure of Easol Capital, there are fairer interest rates and no nasty surprises of the cost of capital. We believe there is a better way that works for everyone, and we’re excited to be leading this change in the industry!”

Benjamin Sasse, co-founder of Bulgarian festival Meadows in the Mountains, comments: “We secured funding from Easol Capital’s partners in its Beta phase and it has been a game changer for our festival. The whole application process was so easy, and we had the money in our bank within 24 hours.

“Our festival requires a huge amount of logistics and third-party suppliers to help build the site on our Bulgarian mountain, and also to provide accommodation and food. Having access to capital during this time is crucial for us to be able to pay people on time and manage our cash flow across the different stages of the festival. Easol is the only provider on the market that gives the flexibility we need. They understand how the sales cycle works and have created a perfect solution.”

Easol will be outlining the benefits of Easol Capital at its Festivals Showcase event, streamed globally on 22 September.

 


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NL extends restrictions, announces €84m aid

The Dutch government has announced €84.5 million in emergency funding after extending Covid restrictions until mid-January.

Enduring restrictions include a 1,250-capacity limit for venues and a ban on events between 17:00 and 05:00. Covid entry passes are still mandatory for everyone aged over 13 to attend concerts in the country.

The measures came into effect on 28 November and will be in place until at least Friday 14 January 2022.

Of the €84.5m total, €59.5m is for compensation for the restrictive measures and €25m for the Cultuur+Ondernemen loan service.

Up to 85% of tickets for performances – including those cancelled – will be bought up by the Performing Arts Fund via the so-called renewed supplement scheme.

Up to 85% of tickets for performances – including those cancelled – will be bought up by the Performing Arts Fund

At Cultuur+Ondernemen, loans can be taken out on ‘favourable terms’ for the restart of productions and long-term loans for replenishing reserves. The cabinet is extending the loan facility up to and including the second quarter of 2022 with an additional €25m.

In addition to the measures mentioned, the cabinet will extend the event guarantee scheme (TRSEC) and the Supplementary Allowance for Events (ATE) until the third quarter of 2022. These schemes will come into effect if an event is banned by the central government during this period.

The cabinet will announce further conditions for these schemes at the beginning of 2022.

“I recently spoke with many people who work in the cultural and creative sector,” says minister for culture, Van Engelshoven.

“There is a great need for perspective to keep their people afloat so that creative processes can continue. Many institutions, both subsidised institutions and independent producers, also continue to pay their self-employed persons through the support measures.

“But unfortunately, the support does not reach them all. The extension of this support package will hopefully provide even more breathing room, so that more self-employed people can be reached.”

Other European markets including Sweden and Denmark have recently extended financial support for their live event sectors.

 


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