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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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Events company Humm rebrands after acquisition

As it prepares to open two new venues in Australia, Cedar Mill Group has acquired one of the country’s leading event management companies.

Since it was founded by Iain Morrison in 2001, Humm has been behind a number of major festivals around the country including Beyond the Valley, Good Things Festival, NRL Nation and the Fire Fight Australia benefit concert. Its clients include Live Nation, TEG, Regional Touring, Untitled Group, and the New South Wales government. The firm will be rebranded Humm Events.

“It’s been an amazing ride for the team and the business to date but for Tara and myself it was an opportunity too good to let go,” said Morrison, who will remain at the company with business partner Tara Whitfield. They are joined by Cedar Mill Group’s Kyle McKendry as General Manager. McKendry joined Cedar Mill Group in 2019 after almost two decades at Roche Group.

Morrison added: “We now have the capacity to resource the business how and when we need to. Our ambition is to grow our team and presence further in the Australian/New Zealand markets, continuing a consistent level of industry benchmark outcomes for all of our clients.”

“Our ambition is to grow our team and presence further in the Australian/New Zealand markets”

Cedar Mill Group is building the 30,000-capacity Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie and 22,000 Cedar Mill Hunter Valley, which will both have “multi-million-dollar entertainment and cultural precincts”, according to the company.

Owned by property developers Winarch Capital, Cedar Mills Group says it has “aggressive growth plans”, with an ambition “to become a key player in the events sector,” according to Winarch CEO Paul Lambess.

Humm Events’ services cover event, site and production management; creative concept development; COVID-19, crowd and risk planning; and strategic consulting for event owners. It says feasibility planning is a big growth area.

 


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Music venues in the Netherlands to reopen

Music venues in the Netherlands are permitted to reopen from 5 June, when the country enters step three of the government’s reopening plan.

The cabinet announced on Friday (28 May) that cultural venues such as concert halls are allowed to reopen in step 3, subject to certain conditions including booking in advance, health checks and designated seating.

From 5 June, small concert halls can welcome a maximum of 50 visitors, as long as the venue can cater to the 1.5-metre social distancing rule.

Concert halls with at least 1,000 seats can welcome a maximum of 250 socially distanced visitors per room. This applies to all large indoor and outdoor venues including arenas, open-air theatres and concert halls.

Concert halls that opt to use coronavirus entry passes will be permitted to host as many people as they can accommodate provided they’re seated and socially distanced.

Concert halls with at least 1,000 seats can welcome a maximum of 250 socially distanced visitors per room

The relatively stringent measures come in spite of findings from three months’ worth of pilot events which show that the risk of Covid-19 infection, when following certain hygiene and testing protocols, is about the same as being at home.

The pilot events were conducted by Fieldlab Evenementen, an initiative of the Dutch government and several trade bodies, which concluded that shows may return safely at 100% capacity, even under the Netherlands’ ‘concern’ (zorgelijk) coronavirus risk level.

It looks like that won’t be a possibility for the Netherlands until late summer at the earliest, according to the government’s roadmap.

The fourth step of the reopening plan is planned for 30 June, when events can take place without a designated seating plan – provided social distancing is observed and entry passes are used. Events must also take account of local rules and requirements, such as permits. The government will decide on 22 June whether to implement step 4 as planned.

The final step, step 5, will see the government lift restrictions and remove the entry pass system. However, there’s no specified date for step 5 as the government says it will be determined by the number of infections and hospital admissions.

 


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Shuttered venues in US bolstered by extra $1.25bn

Struggling concert halls in the US will receive additional aid, thanks to a $1.9 billion stimulus package passed by the Senate and House of Representatives on Wednesday (10 March) and signed into law by President Joe Biden the following day.

The new aid package, known as the American Rescue Package, includes an additional $1.25bn for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG), also known as the Save Our Stages Act, which was part of last year’s aid package.

However, a new amendment to the Save Our Stages Act, introduced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, enables venue owners to apply for additional federal help – unlike the original act which prohibited them from applying for both a grant and a loan to protect their employees’ salaries.

“This change can save countless halls from bankruptcy, as the money will help them to last until the available funds are paid”

“This change can save countless halls from bankruptcy, as the money will help them to last until the available funds are paid,” said Dayna Frank, chair of the board of directors of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) and CEO of First Avenue Productions in Minneapolis, in a statement.

Eligible venue operators can now apply for the new round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP2) loans that closes on 31 March to help them stay afloat until the Small Business Administration (SBA) has set up the SVOG programme, which has yet to announce a launch date.

The $15bn SVOG programme/Save Our Stages Act for theatre operators and small venue owners was passed by US Congress in December 2020, as part of a wider $900bn Covid-19 stimulus package.

 


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Italian venues adopt ‘The Last Concert?’ campaign

Italy’s live music sector is preparing to host ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?), a campaign which was originally launched in Spain last year to highlight the increasingly uncertain future of music venues.

More than 130 Italian venues will live stream performances under the campaign banner on 27 February, a full year since the first venues closed and stages fell silent.

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

Fabrique Milano
2014 – 2021
L’Ultimo Concerto?

#ultimoconcerto

Posted by Fabrique Milano on Thursday, January 28, 2021

 

“When will the last concert be? Or maybe it has already been?” reads the statement from the campaign group.

“Live clubs and concert halls carry the weight of almost a year of closure on their shoulders. Currently, despite the enormous role that these spaces have in terms of the creation, promotion and dissemination of culture and their indisputable social value, it can be said that they have been almost ignored by the numerous decrees that have followed one another in recent months. Provisions have mentioned cinemas and theatres in terms of entertainment but have not devoted due attention to these realities which risk [music venues] disappearing.”

Locomotiv Club
2007 – 2021
L’ultimo concerto?
#ultimoconcerto

Posted by LOCOMOTIV CLUB Bologna on Thursday, January 28, 2021

 

The campaign group has also highlighted urgent requirements to prevent the live sector from permanently closing including economic compensation “proportional to the level of impact that the sector has suffered in these 12 months and in the months to come” as well as institutional recognition equal to that of cinemas and theatres which would entitle it to subsidies and support measures.

‘The Last Concert?’ will be streamed for free at 9 pm CET on www.ultimoconcerto.it featuring performances from Lacuna Coil at Alcatraz in Milan, The Social State and Botanics from Locomotiv in Bologna, Marina Rei from Angelo Mai in Rome, Cosmo from Fabrique in Milan, Bobo Rondelli from Borderline in Pisa and more.

 


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UK industry welcomes u-turn on alcohol ban

Figures from across the UK’s live music business have welcomed a government U-turn on newly introduced restrictions that would have stopped venues selling alcohol without a full meal. The news comes after a week of intense lobbying from the sector, in particular by umbrella organisation LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment).

The British government last week announced a ban on selling alcohol without food for establishments in tier 2, one of the three new tier restriction levels being introduced this week. Tier 2 currently comprises around 60% of the population of England.

With alcohol sales typically making a majority of a venue’s income, and hundreds of venues unable to serve a full meal, the legislation was poised to shut down a large swathe of the sector. Today’s news gives many venues and promoters the ability to programme shows in December and January, albeit still in line with current guidelines on social distancing.



The exemption inserted into the legislation applies “where alcohol is being provided to a customer at a cinema, theatre, concert hall or sportsground and the alcohol is ordered by, and served to, a customer who has a ticket for an exhibition of a film, a performance or an event of training or competition at the venue, to consume in the area where the audience is seated to watch the exhibition, performance or event”.

Phil Bowdery, chair of the Concert Promoters Association, says: “LIVE is delighted that the government has listened to our calls to allow alcohol to be sold at live music venues under the new tier 2 restrictions. This announcement is hugely important for our industry as stopping the sale of alcohol was going to mean that even if venues were technically able to open under tier 2, they wouldn’t have been able to financially.

“This decision represents a significant opportunity to all in the music industry to economically work on events”

“There’s still a long way to go for the live music industry to recover, and the new situation is extremely challenging for those in tier 3, but we’re grateful to all those involved, in the industry and in government, for securing this sensible step.”

Mark Dayvd, CEO at Music Venue Trust, says: “Music Venue Trust and LIVE worked hard with the government to make the case that the consumption of culture and the consumption of food should be treated equally. We are delighted that guidance has been issued that makes it clear that ticketed events at grassroots music venues can go ahead in tier 2 with alcohol on sale. It makes a direct difference to the number of shows that can be delivered and is a significant step forward in the campaign to Revive Live Music and Reopen Every Venue Safely.”

Nathan Clark, board member at the Association of Independent Promoters, adds: “This decision represents a significant opportunity to all in the music industry to economically work on events, and to also utilise any Culture Recovery Funding. It gives a potential lifeline opportunity to both grassroots venues and promoters that simply wouldn’t have been possible without this amendment. A huge step in the right direction for music.”

The new three-tier system will replace the national lockdown that expires on 2 December. Under tier 2 restrictions, concert halls are permitted to open with up to 1,000 people or 50% occupancy, whichever is smaller, in addition to the existing regulation around maintaining social distancing.

Under tier 3 (which reportedly accounts for 41.5% of the population of England) all hospitality will close except for delivery and takeaway, including indoor entertainment venues. Areas in tier three include vast swathes or the north-east, north-west, Yorkshire and the Humber, the south-west and the East and West Midlands, as well parts of Kent and the south-east – meaning many music venues in the UK will remain closed.

 


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