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Venues Day International to debut in October

Music Venue Trust (MVT), which represents 100s of grassroots music venues in the UK, has announced that its annual conference and networking event, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, will now take place in October.

To enable as many venues as possible to participate, Venues Day 2021 – which takes place at Earth in London on Tuesday 5 October – will be a hybrid event incorporating Venues Day Online, a day of virtual activity on 12 October, to ensure every venue in the country gets access to best practice information, advice and guidance as they emerge from lockdown.

Another new event, the inaugural Venues Day International, will take place on 19 October. A partnership between MVT and Live DMA (Europe), Music Policy Forum (North America), Canadian Live Music Association, Live Music Office Australia and NIVA (US), Venues Day International is the first global event aimed exclusively at grassroots music venue operators and owners.

Venues Day International will also take place online and feature panels, presentations and discussion on shared challenges and opportunities across the world.

“We are incredibly excited … to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events”

Venues Day is sponsored by Ticketmaster and Amazon, with additional support coming from Jack Daniel’s, White Light, ILMC and media partners IQ and NME.

Andrew Parsons, MD of Ticketmaster UK, says: “Venues Day has long been a pillar for the grassroots community, but this year’s will be a lifeline to so many venues around the country as we inch closer to reopening. The sheer graft of MVT throughout the pandemic to support the industry has been truly inspiring to see, and we’re happy to do our part and sponsor Venues Day 2021.”

“Music Venue Trust offers invaluable support to our industry, and initiatives such as the Grassroots Music Venues Crisis Service have provided a lifeline for many over the past year,” adds Patrick Clifton, UK head of music for Amazon Music. “At Amazon Music we’re proud to continue our partnership with MVT, to help bring Venues Day to grassroots sites across the country, providing guidance and advice to ensure they can safely open their doors to music fans.”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of Music Venue Trust, comments: “Venues Day 2021 will further encourage collaboration and sharing, connecting venues across the world so they feel part of a growing movement to emphasise how vital they are to both the wider music industry and local communities. We are incredibly excited to not only be able to deliver the existing event, but to have taken the challenge of the crisis head on and to be delivering a hugely increased range and scope of events with our domestic and international partners.”

 


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4,000+ socially distanced gigs to be held in UK in May/June

A new survey has revealed the full extent to which grassroots music venues in England plan to reopen their doors from 17 May.

The survey, commissioned by Music Venue Trust (MVT) among the nearly 1,000 members of its Music Venues Alliance (MVA), reveals that 2,534 socially distanced shows are already on sale in 266 venues from 17 May 17 to 21 June, with more than 4,000 shows across over 400 venues predicted to take place across the period.

17 May begins the penultimate stage in the UK government’s roadmap to ease Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in England before a planned return to full-capacity social activity on 21 June.

By the end of September, the survey indicates that over 17,000 full-capacity shows are confirmed to take place, with nearly 30,000 shows likely to take place in front of a combined audience of nearly seven million.

With support artists factored in, it is estimated that there will be 91,500 individual live performances during the period, offering over 300,000 work opportunities for musicians as they finally get the chance to return to paid employment.

“The grassroots sector is stepping up and putting its own time and money into answering the demand for live music”

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director of MVT, says: “It’s incredible to see the enthusiasm for getting live music back into our towns and cities being shown by venues, artists and crew. These socially distanced shows aren’t being delivered for financial return – in fact precisely the opposite. The grassroots sector is stepping up and putting its own time and money into answering the demand for live music in our communities.”

According to MVT, the grassroots music venue sector turned over £360 million in 2019–20 (prior to the pandemic), delivering over 200,000 events and more than half a million performances to 33m ticket holders. The sector provides full time employment for 10,000 people, with approximately 150,000 musicians, crew, sound engineers, lighting engineers, security personnel, bar staff and other casual employees working in grassroots live music.

“As we emerge from the darkness of the last year and move towards our plan to revive live it is incredibly exciting and heartening to see the positivity with which UK grassroots music venues are approaching re-opening their doors,” says MVT CEO Mark Dayvd.

“The fact that musicians can get back to work, music fans can start to enjoy a live music experience again and all the associated staff in the music venue ecosystem can go back to earning a living again is amazing news. There are still challenges to overcome – and, of course, the whole of this programme relies on the government sticking to its roadmap to allow us to reopen every venue safely. Audience safety continues to be grassroots music venues’ main priority, but this is hopefully the start of our much-anticipated road back to normality.”

 


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UK orgs react to new PRS tariff for small live streams

Key organisations from the UK’s music industry have criticised PRS for Music for its new “ill-conceived” licence for small-scale livestreamed gigs, following last year’s backlash about the proposed tariff for larger livestreamed events.

The UK performance rights organisation has today launched a new licensing portal for music creators, venues and promoters wanting to stage livestream small-scale events, which will impose a flat fee equating to a minimum 9% tariff on events generating less than £500.

The blanket rate for a show that generates less than £250 is £22.50, and £45 for an event that generates between £250 and £500.

The move follows the last year’s proposal that larger livestream events should be subject to a tariff of between 8% and 17% of gross revenues, compared to 4.2% charged at normal in-person live shows.

This prompted Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) to send a joint letter – countersigned by more than 50 artist managers – to PRS for Music CEO Andrea Martin last month urging her to reconsider the move.

“[PRS] need to commit to a full and transparent industry-wide consultation before issuing invoices to cash-strapped artists”

PRS says it will not be actively pursuing licences for livestreamed events that took place prior to the launch of the new portal, which would have qualified for the fixed fee licence.

Commenting on the new licence for small-scale livestreamed concerts, David Martin, CEO at FAC, and Annabella Coldrick, chief executive at MMF, say: “All of us want songwriters and composers to be paid fairly and efficiently for the use of their work, but this is not the way to go about it. Once again, we would urge PRS for Music to stop acting unilaterally.

“They need to urgently listen to the growing concerns of artists and their representatives during the pandemic, implement a waiver for performer-writers to opt-out of such fees, and commit to a full and transparent industry-wide consultation before issuing invoices to cash-strapped artists.”

“Unilaterally announcing ill-conceived new tariffs in a crisis is not such a discussion”

Mark Davyd, CEO at Music Venue Trust, added: “The live music industry, including grassroots music venues, artists and promoters, is in crisis mode and pulling together. The team at MVT have been in regular correspondence with PRS for Music throughout this crisis on how we can work together to ensure everyone emerges from this crisis and we can get back to work. At no time during those conversations has anybody suggested that a new tariff for streaming would be created. We have not been consulted on this, advised of it, or even notified of it prior to a press release being issued.

“The principal beneficiaries of paid streaming during this crisis have been artists. The beneficiaries of charitable streaming, online broadcasts by artists to raise money for causes, have included venues, crew, artists, and the wider community, including healthcare workers, food banks and homeless charities.

“It is unclear from this press statement whether PRS for Music wishes to clampdown on artists paying themselves or on artists supporting charities, but we would strongly suggest that neither should have been advanced to the stage of an announcement of a Tariff without understanding the most basic economics of what streaming is actually doing during this crisis.

“We remain available to discuss the realities of streaming during this crisis with PRS for Music if they wish to have an informed discussion on it. Unilaterally announcing ill-conceived new tariffs in a crisis is not such a discussion.”

“[PRS] is continuing to work to agree a range of licensing options for larger events, including a proposed discount”

Andrea Martin, CEO, PRS for Music, says: “We recognise the importance of providing simple licensing solutions wherever possible and the licensing portal for small-scale online events is an example of this. We are continuing to work hard to agree a range of licensing options for providers of larger events, including a proposed discounted rate during the pandemic.

“This is a part of the market which has seen exponential growth and is itself constantly evolving, meeting the expectations for worldwide blanket licences is alone no small feat, but we are committed to finding solutions which ensure members can be paid fairly when their works are performed.”

John Truelove, writer director, PRS Members’ Council, says: “Composers and songwriters have faced monumental challenges this past year. So, the huge surge in the online live concert market beyond anyone’s expectations, is positive news all round. It is great that so many artists are performing online concerts to stay connected with fans, to earn a living, and to promote new releases.

“Anyone wanting to hold small online ticketed gigs can now get a PRS licence in a simple and straightforward way. This will create even more opportunities for artists, musicians and writers to thrive together while ensuring that songwriters and composers are being properly paid when their music is performed.”

PRS is proposing to apply temporary discounted rates on livestream licensing for bigger events until the live sector can reopen – though these are yet to be determined.

 


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Unsung Heroes 2020: Music Venue Trust

Unsung Heroes 2020, published in IQ 95 just before Christmas, is a tribute to some of the organisations and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help others during a year unlike any other – be that through their efforts to protect the industry, or helping those who were in desperate need.

We turned to the readership and asked you to nominate worthy causes and personalities for consideration as the inaugural members of our Unsung Heroes awards. Now, IQ can reveal the dozen most-voted Unsung Heroes of 2020, continuing with the UK’s Music Venue Trust, which follows Musically Fed’s Maria Brunner.


Led by husband and wife founders, Mark Davyd and Beverley Whitrick, Music Venue Trust (MVT) also counts Clara Cullen, Sarah Claudine and Menna Grasser as its core team.

However, during the pandemic, MVT has enhanced its team with a number of national and regional co-ordinators who include Nick Stewart, Sam Dabb, Stu Fletcher, Jay Taylor, Danni Brownsill, Chris Sherrington, Harkirit Boparai, Luke Hinton, Sophie Asquith, Keiron Marshall, Sam Jones, Geoff Priestley, Barney Jeavons, Tom Maddicott, Matt Otridge, Toni Coe-Brooker and Lucy Stone.

Strategic director Beverley Whitrick explains, “Music Venue Trust started 2020 with plans to build on the success of 2019 – the first year in which more grassroots music venues (GMVs) opened than closed in the UK. Having spent the last few years trying to build understanding of the vital role that these venues play as cultural, social and economic hubs and creating a community of venues (the Music Venues Alliance, or MVA), we planned to move to a more formal, paid membership model and travel around the country consulting widely with the people who run these venues.”

As the coronavirus pandemic spread and restrictions hit live music and venues hard, that strategy, of course, had to be scrapped. “Instead we found ourselves completely changing plans, appointing lots of temporary team members, and the MVA growing from 600 venues in January to over 900 by November (membership is still free).”

At the start of 2020, MVT had only two full-time members of staff, but Whitrick pays tribute to the committed team members who stepped up to focus full-time on the plight of the UK’s small venues, which, in history, have never needed more help.

“We needed three things: more money, more people and more lobbying power”

“Our early surveys and reports identified that we needed three things: more money, more people and more lobbying power,” says Whitrick. “We created #SaveOurVenues to try and tackle all three, embarking on a huge crowdfunding campaign to pay for a bigger team and raise money for venues, while also creating a focus for PR and lobbying.”

That effort worked. Since the end of April, more than £3 million (€3.3m) has been raised thanks to artists, photographers, designers, merch companies, music industry donors, music fans and the mayor of London.

The money raised enabled MVT to appoint MVA coordinators across the UK to work individually with every venue in the network and to assist clubs and businesses to apply for any money they could claim from governments or local authorities.

“Key to our work has been giving all layers of government reports about the financial interventions needed to sustain venues. We have worked with cultural funders to help design funding, and then guided venues through the process of applying for funding – most of them for the first time.

“This work is ongoing, but so far £60m [€67m] has been secured by GMVs, exceeding our expectations of the recognition they would receive for their cultural value. Our team has been incredible at teaching, supporting and encouraging people who had never thought they could (or should) have to lay out why their work is as eligible for support as any theatre, concert hall or arts centre.”

Unfortunately, not everyone was eligible or successful in obtaining funds, so the work continues. Whitrick adds, “MVT always aims to be practical and effective. We also understand the need for mental health support, and are grateful that our venue community exists and is well supported by other parts of the music ecosystem. We are still working on ways to reopen every venue safely, and hope that will happen soon so we can all get back to experiencing live music in intimate spaces.”

 


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DCMS criticises “failure” of UK govt to support live

The UK’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has stated that the government’s support package for cultural industries came “too late for many”, and has called for further urgent sector-specific measures.

In the ‘Impact of Covid-19 on DCMS Sectors’ report, the committee states that the government’s recent £1.57 billion support package for the arts, while welcome, “will not be enough to stop mass redundancies and the permanent closure of our cultural infrastructure”.

In addition to the support package, which came after an intense day of lobbying from the UK live industry, the committee calls for an extension to the government’s furlough scheme – currently set to expire at the end of October – until mass gatherings are permitted; continued workforce support measures, including enhanced measures for freelancers and small companies; clear “if conditional” timelines for when events will be able to reopen, with a date for stage five of the government’s plan to reopen events set by 1 August at the latest; and “technological solutions”, such as app-based testing and tracking systems, to allow audiences to return without social distancing.

The committee also recommends the creation of a long-term pandemic reinsurance scheme, ensuring cultural industries are covered by “adequate insurance” in the future, as well as “long-term structural support” to rebuild audience figures, including sector-specific tax reliefs and a value-added tax (VAT) cut for the sector for the next three years. The British government has currently cut VAT on event tickets to 5% until the end of the year.

As for the previously announced funding, the committee demands the government “publish eligibility criteria and application guidance as soon as possible”, as well as “ensur[ing] that the funding reaches recipients no later than October 2020”.

“To reduce uncertainty, the government must publish eligibility criteria  as soon as possible”

The DCMS committee is calling for “sector-specific versions” of the current job retention and self-employed income support schemes to be implemented by October 2020 “at the latest” and kept open until income returns to “sustainable levels”. The committee notes that existing support schemes, such as the self-employed income support scheme and coronavirus business interruption loan scheme, do not cover many working in the live industry.

The report also points out that a large number of festivals, outdoor events and city centre venues have also been unable to access grants earmarked for the retail, hospitality and leisure industries, as the scheme requires businesses to occupy properties with a certain rateable value.

Using data gathered from across the live industry, the committe highlights the threats posed to the UK’s venues and festivals, with over 90% of grassroot music venues in Britain currently face permanent closure, as estimated by the Music Venue Trust (MVT), and the 23 UK arenas making up the National Arenas Association set to lose almost £235m in ticket sales over a six-month period.

As for the festival sector, the report state that: “The seasonality of the industry means that cancellations over spring and summer mean a complete loss of income for the year ahead, which could have devastating consequences for the SMEs and self-employed workers in the live events supply chain.”

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has previously stated that 92% of its member festivals are facing permanent collapse.

“We are witnessing the biggest threat to our cultural landscape in a generation,” comments DCMS committee chair Julian Knight.

“We are witnessing the biggest threat to our cultural landscape in a generation”

“The failure of the government to act quickly has jeopardised the future of institutions that are part of our national life and the livelihoods of those who work for them. Our report points to a department that has been treated as a ‘Cinderella’ by government when it comes to spending, despite the enormous contribution that the DCMS sectors make to the economy and job creation.

“We can see the damaging effect that has had on the robustness and ability of these areas to recover from the Covid crisis. We urge the government to act on our recommendations, to recognise the value these sectors provide and imagine how much bleaker the outcome for all without their survival.”

Representatives from across the UK live industry have welcomed the DCMS recommendations. UK Music acting CEO Tom Kiehl has called the document a “watershed report in the fight for survival for many companies and individuals working across the music industry.”

“We fully support the conclusions of today’s important report and want to send out thanks to the committee for recognising the value in our industry,” comments Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters Association and executive president of Live Nation.

“This report demonstrates that a sector-specific deal to support the industry, conditional timelines for reopening without social distancing and long-term structural support are going to be vital in ensuring the survival of the live music in the UK.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the government to ensure that the entire sector can be supported through this time.”

“This report demonstrates that a sector-specific deal to support the industry is going to be vital in ensuring the survival of the live music in the UK”

Mark Davyd, CEO of MVT, commends the recognition of the “urgency of short-term measures to prevent the catastrophic loss of vital infrastructure”, as well as more long-term measures aimed at “restor[ing] the sector to health and to future proof it against threats”.

From a production point of view, Andy Lenthall, general manager of the Production Services Association (PSA) says it is “hugely heartening” that the DCMS has recognised the “vital part” suppliers and technicians play in the cultural ecosystem.

AIF CEO Paul Reed similarly welcomes the findings of the report “which specifically acknowledges that the UK’s thriving festival and live events sector has been particularly badly hit by this crisis”.

“We’re particularly pleased to see that our recommendations for long-term relief, including extensions of existing employment support schemes and an extended VAT cut, have been taken onboard,” says Reed.

“We look forward to working further with DCMS to ensure that the festival sector, which generates £1.75bn for the UK economy and supports 85,000 jobs, can survive and continue to thrive into 2021 and beyond.”

The report is available to read in full here.

Photo: Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0) (cropped)

 


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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Scottish govt dedicates £2.2m to grassroots venues

Scottish grassroots music venues have received a £2.2 million boost from the government, following concerns that a previously announced £10m fund for performing arts venues neglected the commercial sector.

The fund, announced by Scotland’s culture secretary Fiona Hyslop last week, aims to provide “immediate support” and “much-needed stability” to grassroots venues in the coming weeks.

The Scottish government had been involved in ongoing discussions with the Music Venue Trust (MVT), who had stressed the need for sector-specific funding for grassroots music venues in Scotland.

“We are delighted to have agreed this funding with the Scottish Government, and we thank them very much for their commitment to grassroots music venues,” comments Nick Stewart, MVT’s Scottish co-ordinator and manager of Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s.

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely.”

“This funding will stabilise venues in the short term and prevent permanent closures, and we can begin to plan towards reopening every venue safely”

MVT, along with other members of the Scottish live industry, had previously raised concerns that a £10m relief fund for performing arts venues in the country did not benefit the for-profit sector.

An open letter sent to the culture sector by a newly formed Scottish commercial music industry taskforce, which includes representatives from promoters DF Concerts, Regular Music, ATC Live, Fly Events, Active Events, Craft Management, A Modern Way Management, Ironworks Venue, Asgard and Sneaky Petes, asked the the government to “fulfill the Music Venue Trust and the Scottish members of the Music Venues Alliance’s request for specific funding for grassroots music venues”, noting “a lack of consultation with the commercial music sector”.

In the letter, which was also signed by artists including Biffy Clyro, KT Tunstall, Simple Minds, the Proclaimers and Primal Scream, the task force urged the government to provide a “clear, conditional timeline” for reopening venues without social distancing and to establish a culture and creative industries infrastructure fund with the £97m earmarked for Scotland from the UK government’s £1.57 billion arts and culture rescue package.

The taskforce was also among those to call for a value-added tax (VAT) exemption on ticket sales, days before the UK government’s reduction in VAT on concert tickets from 20% to 5%.

 

 


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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UK biz awaits reopening info as sector faces ‘mass closures’

Industry associations in the UK have called on the government for sector-specific support and “absolute clarity” on reopening, as it is estimated that 90% of venues and festivals in the country face permanent closure.

According to the UK Live Music Group, which sits within trade body UK Music as the collective voice of promoters, festivals, agents, venues and production services, nearly a billion pounds will be wiped off the value of the UK music industry without state support and clarity on when – and how – live events will return.

Last week, grassroots venues representative the Music Venue Trust (MVT) asked for “an immediate cash injection” of £50 million, warning that a lack of immediate aid will result in “mass closures” of venues over the summer months.

The organisation also proposes a one-off cut in value-added tax (VAT) on ticket sales for the next three years for venues and promoters.

MVT states that the industry is currently facing “a substantial loss of infrastructure”, with nine out of ten venues and the festivals in the country at risk of permanent closure.

“Frustration and anger is growing within the sector to get some absolute clarity on when businesses will be able to reopen and what extended provision will be available to businesses unable to open under the measures presented by government”

The charity’s Save Our Venues campaign has so far raised £2m, providing short-term relief for many venues. However, “relying on donations simply isn’t sustainable as we move into a recovery phase”, says MVT CEO Mark Davyd, who recently spoke on an IQ Focus panel on the difficulties facing grassroots music venues.

The call comes as the UK’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) criticises the government for “procrastinating” over the future.

“Frustration and anger is growing within the sector to get some absolute clarity on when businesses will be able to reopen and what extended provision will be available to businesses unable to open under the measures presented by government,” comments NTIA CEO Michael Kill.

Kill says that “consistent ambiguous messaging” from the government has increased “the level of anxiety” amongst business owners.

“At what point is the government going to realise that we are playing with people’s livelihoods here, and businesses and jobs are being lost with every passing day?” asks Kill.

UK prime minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce details of the next phase of reopening – starting from 4 July – tomorrow (23 June), with updates anticipated for businesses across the hospitality sector.

The outcome of a review on the possible relaxation of the two metre social distancing rule is also expected in the coming days.

Photo: Maurice/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Experts warn GMVs need support as German gov steps up

Grassroots venues lobbyists came together in the latest IQ Focus panel to discuss the government aid the sector desperately needs and why social distancing can never work.

Available to watch back now on the IQ website, as well as on Facebook and YouTube, the session featured Ticktemaster’s Sarah Slater in conversation with the Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd, the National Independent Venue Association’s Rev. Moose, LiveKomm’s Karsten Schölermann, Dachstock’s Kathy Flück and Lluís Torrents of Catalonian venue association Asacc.

Schölermann proved the envy of the panel – and those watching – upon revealing that the German government has dedicated €50 million to help grassroots music venues (GMVs) – enough money to prop up the sector for a year, part of a wider €150m live music support package.

“From our point of view, the german government has done well,” said Schölermann. “Now we just need to figure out how to use that money to reopen after such an intense set back.”

Davyd, who has so far raised over £1.5m (€1.7m) with MVT’s Save Our Venues campaign says this kind of sector-specific support is what GMVs in the UK need. MVT has calculated that sector has received £35m (€39m) so far from general government support packages, but has so far lost £48m.

“Now we just need to figure out how to use that money to reopen after such an intense set back”

“We need to get to a point where the government can deal with sectors specifically,” said Davyd.

For Torrents, the government’s underappreciation of live music as a cultural force is the main obstacle, whereas Flück also appeared dissatisfied with the Swiss government’s support, saying the “responsibility is very much on [event] organisers” to figure out how to survive the crisis and reopen safely.

In the United States, the grassroots sector had no representative body until very recently. “In a time of crisis, it was obvious that there was no one fighting on indie venues behalf,” said Moose, who co-founded the US National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) in April.

Starting the conversation around small venues has been easy, but urgent action still needs to be taken in the US, said Moose.

“If we can’t get the assistance to get through this period, the market is going to shift in a significant way.”

Venues reopening under social distancing measures was ruled out by the panellists, with Davyd saying that, in the UK, only 2 to 3% of venues could open under the two metre distancing rules, “and they would be hemorrhaging money doing so”.

“If we can’t get the assistance to get through this period, the market is going to shift in a significant way”

Torrents, who is the co-director of Barcelona venue Razzmatazz agrees that any form of social distancing is a “temporary and exceptional situation”.

“In the long term, we will recover the true normal. [Going to venues] should be a social activity, we cannot apply social distancing measures to this,” said Torrents, pointing out the oxymoronic nature of the very phrase “social distancing”.

“We should resist until we can open with a minimum of 60 to 70% capacity, but never less.”

Schölermann discussed alternatives way for venues to reopen such as putting on matinee shows, with multiple, short concerts being played throughout a day and, potentially, venues being open for 24 hours to make up numbers.

Venues will have to use space better, he said, suggesting the reappropriation of outdoor spaces such as car parks for staging shows.

“We can and will find out how to survive.”

“We should resist until we can open with a minimum of 60 to 70% capacity, but never less”

For Davyd, a kind of on-the-door testing system would allow GMVs to open at full capacity, with the knowledge that no-one at the show had the virus.

“If I was in government, that’s what I’d be focused on – testing.”

In times of crisis, there are some positives to draw. Moose noted that those who “are typically somewhat adversarial are now working towards the same goals”, with the result that the whole industry is now more prepared to address its problems.

Davyd added that the importance of the sector has really come to light for all in recent months.

“Maybe this is an opportunity to shake things up and reimagine how we respect the value of GMVs in society and also within government.”

The next IQ Focus session, The Agency Business 3.0, is taking place on Thursday 11 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET, with panellists Angus Baskerville (13 Artists), Jules de Lattre (UTA), Maria May (CAA) and Tom Schroeder (Paradigm).

Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

 


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Hard-hit grassroots sector focus of next IQ panel

Following on from The Innovation Session last week, the next panel in the IQ Focus series looks at the unique challenges that the Covid-19 crisis poses for grassroots music venues.

Featuring those working on the frontline to protect the world’s smaller venues, the Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis panel will look at what is needed to ensure these vital parts of the live music ecosystem remain in business.

Joining chair Sarah Slater, Ticketmaster UK’s vice president of music and festivals, are Mark Davyd, founder and CEO of grassroots venues charity the Music Venue Trust; Rev. Moose, co-founder of the newly formed National Independent Venue Association; Karsten Schölermann, chairman of German venue association LiveKomm; Lluís Torrents, president of Catalonian venue association Asacc (Associació de sales de concerts de catalunya) and co-director of Barcelona venue Razzmatazz; and Kathy Flück from Swiss venue the Dachstock.

Following a previous IQ Focus discussion on arenas, stadia and other large venues, the conversation now turns to grassroots venues which, although among the hardest hit by the shutdown, are likely to reopen earlier than many other parts of the business, bringing a distinct set of opportunities, challenges and questions.

Just what this reopening will look like, and what potential long-term changes can be expected, will be at the centre of the panellists’ conversation.

Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis will be streamed live on Thursday 4 June at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

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Social distancing key issue as UK working group meets

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is the latest industry association to raise concerns over the impact of social distancing on the events industry, ahead of the first meeting of a newly formed UK events and entertainment working group tomorrow (28 May).

The working group, part of a series of sectoral subgroups convened by the UK’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about recreation and leisure, is comprised of industry organisations including the NTIA, the Concert Promoters Association (CPA), the National Arenas Association (NAA) and the Music Venue Trust (MVT).

The group will be tasked with developing guidance for the sector and acting as a conduit between industry and ministers.

The NTIA’s particular concern is around the financial viability of venues reopening under strict social distancing measures. The organisation calls for a “more pragmatic approach” that would allow businesses to generate their own guidelines for reopening and mitigate risk on a case by case basis.

The group will be tasked with developing guidance for the sector and acting as a conduit between industry and ministers

The statement comes as the Southbank Centre, a multi-venue arts and cultural centre in London, warns that it will be forced to close until April 2021 without further government support.

The centre forecasts a best-case scenario of facing losses of £5.1 million by the end of the 2020/2021 financial year.

The viability of socially distanced shows divided panellists on the recent IQ Focus The Venue’s Venue: Building Back panel. Lucy Noble, chair of the NAA and director of the Royal Albert Hall said that social distancing was not part of the plan for reopening, with measures such as temperature checks, contact tracings and disinfectant misting more likely to be employed.

“We are suggesting to the [UK government] how we can operate,” said Noble. “If they are not giving us clarity, then we need to give them clarity.”

 


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