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Germany won’t Return to Live, says government

Germany’s federal and state governments have dashed hopes of the country returning to live any time soon after announcing that major events which do not adhere to hygiene regulations will be banned at least until the end of this year.

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, previously announced in June that major events in the country would be banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.

The extension of the ban is part of a series of measures to help contain the spread of the virus in Germany, which include a minimum fine of €50 for those caught without a mask.

Chancellor Angela Merkel says: “We want to keep our health system strong in the pandemic, because this benefits everyone, but also the economy and public life.”

Earlier this week, the Live Nation GSA-promoted concert Return to Live – slated to be the biggest show in the country since March – was postponed indefinitely due to increasing infections.

“We want to keep our health system strong in the pandemic, because this benefits everyone, but also the economy and public”

The concert was due to take place on 4 September, inviting up to 12,000 to watch artists including Bryan Adams, Sarah Connor and Rea Garvey at the all-seated Merkur Spiel Arena in Dusseldorf.

Music industry conference and showcase festival Reeperbahn is among those still slated to take place in Germany between August and November, set for 16 to 19 September in Hamburg.

According to Hamburg government spokesperson Enno Isermann Reeperbahn “should take place under the applicable corona regulations”

While Germany may not be able to return to live yet, preparations for next year look promising. Just a few days ago the German federal government committed €80 million to organisers of music concerts and festivals from its €1bn Restart Culture programme.

The 12-month Neustart Kultur (‘Restart Culture’) stimulus package includes a total of €150m earmarked for music, with this initial €80m dedicated to events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021.

This news followed reports that Germany is likely to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme to 24 months – a proposal that has the backing of the chancellor, Angela Merkel.

 


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German gov pledges €80m for festivals and concerts

The German federal government has committed €80 million to organisers of music concerts and festivals from its €1bn Restart Culture programme.

The 12-month Neustart Kultur (‘Restart Culture’) stimulus package includes a total of €150m earmarked for music, with this initial €80m dedicated to events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021. 

The funding is the latest piece of good news for German concert professionals, coming after reports that Germany is likely to extend its coronavirus furlough scheme to 24 months – a proposal that has the backing of the chancellor, Angela Merkel.

This is the result of the negotiations that have been ongoing since the beginning of July between the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) and the Ministry of State for Culture and the Media.

“While the funding programme is far from being sufficient to fill the financial holes that the organisers have incurred in the last six months, and which unfortunately will only increase in the coming months, it will at least ensure a certain basic guarantee of the industry’s ongoing attempts to get back to normal,” says Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV).

“This will at least ensure a certain basic guarantee of the industry’s ongoing attempts to get back to normal”

For events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021, the current programme provides organisers with funding of between €75,000 and €800,000 of future event costs. Festival organisers can receive up to €250,000.

The maximum amount depends on the average number of events and visitors in the years 2017–2019, as well as the average turnover from cultural events within Germany.

Artist management and agents have so far not benefitted from the funding programme, despite being explicitly mentioned as recipients of aid in the Restart Culture programme. Applications will open on 7 September and will be processed through Initiative Musik, the German funding and export office for musicians and music companies.

The Restart Culture package recently announced €27m for small and medium-sized stages, based on the capacity of the space. Complementary funding with other federal funding programs is possible. Applications open on 27 August.

Currently, major events in Germany are banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.

 


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Neustart Kultur: Germany pledges €150m for live music

The German federal government has pledged €150 million for the live music industry as part of a €1 billion package to revive Germany’s coronavirus-crippled creative sector.

The 12-month Neustart Kultur (‘Restart Culture’) programme will make available €150m for live music – ie “music venues, festivals, [concert] organisers and agents”, according to a government press release – alongside new funding for theatre and dance (also €150m), cinemas and the film sector (€120m), radio broadcasters (€20m), and galleries, book publishers and other “socio-cultural centres” (€30m), among others.

A total of €450m is also available to make “cultural institutions fit for reopening”. Intended for organisations which don’t already receive public funding, the grant will finance “new hygiene concepts”, such as paper-free ticketing or improved ventilation systems in venues.

Karsten Schoelermann, head of German venue association LiveKomm, who appeared on yesterday’s IQ Focus panel, Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis, says he hopes a significant portion of the scheme will be directed to grassroots music venues. “We must now find out how we can keep our [small] music stages alive, and get them ready for a new start,” he explains.

“We will support cinemas and music clubs … to reopen their doors as soon as possible”

Monika Grütters, Germany’s federal commissioner for culture and the media, says the aid should be matched by “concrete steps for reopening” on the part of those receiving it. “Culture is not a luxury that you can only afford in good times,” she adds.

Neustart Kultur is the latest package of support measures for the German creative industries during the Covid-19 pandemic, following a €50bn “rescue umbrella” of grants and loans in late March and the introduction of a ticket voucher scheme to protect promoters’ cash flow early the following month.

“With an additional one billion euros, we support the restarting of cultural life in Germany and set the course for the future,” comments Grütters. “I am proud to say that this is almost exactly half of our annual budget, which has grown significantly over the past few years.

“We will support cinemas and music clubs, memorials and museums, theatres and festivals, and many other cultural institutions to reopen their doors as soon as possible. For us, maintaining and securing Germany’s cultural infrastructure is the key to creating job opportunities for artists across the country once more.”

 


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