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Irish concert businesses receive €25m summer funding

The government of the Republic of Ireland has announced recipients of its €25 million in to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters to plan live performances across the country over the summer months, with a total of 237 organisations benefitting from the scheme.

The live performance support scheme (LPSS) is part of a €50m suite of measures to support the live entertainment sector, and follows exceptional demand for a €5m pilot scheme in in 2020. The scheme aims to support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to Covid-19 and where funding will make live performances viable or alternatively make them available online if audiences cannot attend due to restrictions.

Among the companies to benefit from LPSS funding include Festival Republic, which has been awarded €423,000 for live shows in Stradbally Hall (home to its festival Electric Picnic) and the Olympia Theatre in Dublin; Aiken Promotions, which received €500,000 for its live performances at Dublin’s Vicar Street; and Pod, which has also been awarded €500,000 for Meadows Festival, a socially distanced festival of music, comedy and spoken word.

“The scheme aims to support live performances, particularly where capacity for live attendance is restricted due to Covid-19 restrictions”

Over 400 companies and businesses applied for the scheme. A Word document of all successful applications is available here.

Irish culture minister Catherine Martin says: “I am very pleased to announce this funding, which will encompass and support a wide range of performances over the coming summer months. I know this funding will assist in the employment of performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector, bringing much-needed employment to many who have not had work for many, many months.

“I look forward to the high quality artistic output, as demonstrated in the pilot, which has been so important and enjoyed by so many.”

“I have recently provided a further €5m under the local live performance programming scheme for local authorities to engage local performers and crew to stage live performances in their areas,” she adds, “creating further employment opportunities over the coming months.”

 


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Irish cos receive funding from €5m support scheme

Aiken Promotions, Pod Festivals, MPI Artists and Body & Soul Festival are among the 58 concert businesses to benefit from Ireland’s new Live Performance Support Scheme, which aims to enable promoters, producers and venues plan to live performances in the coming months.

Catherine Martin, the Republic of Ireland’s minister for culture and the arts, announced the beneficiaries of the scheme today (2 November), with an announcement from her office explaining that the €5 million fund will allow “commercial organisers of live performances to commence preparations immediately and productions to go ahead, with either a live audience or to share content through streaming”.

Recipients of the funding range including concert and festival promoters, theatre and pantomime producers, and venues of all sizes, with individual grants ranging from €10,000 to €400,000.

“I am very conscious of the unprecedented nature of the challenge facing the live performance sector, not least from a financial point of view, and accordingly I’m very pleased to announce this funding allocation, which I’m sure will greatly assist in the employment of performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff across the sector,” comments Martin.

“This scheme helps to de-risk the costs of running productions that may be postponed, cancelled or curtailed”

“I was also delighted to recently announce €50 million in support for the sector in [the] budget 2021, which will encompass a range of supports for live entertainment events to take place in venues next year across the country, and other measures to support music, and a new grant scheme for equipment.”

The Live Performance Support Scheme is similar to recent measures announced in Austria, where the government is acting as a guarantor for concerts, though the Irish scheme is paying out grants up front, rather than if/when a show is cancelled.

“This scheme, designed after consultation with the sector, helps to de-risk the costs of running productions that may be postponed, cancelled or curtailed due to restrictions to safeguard public health,” adds Martin. “The live events sector was one of the first to close and I want to ensure that it will be supported and there once again for musicians, artists and performers.”

A full list of recipients of the funding is available from the Republic of Ireland government website.

Irish promoters told IQ last week that while the live music industry is grateful for the €50m support package, it still needs clarification about when events may return in 2021.

 


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Ireland to permit some shows, festivals in August

The Republic of Ireland has released its roadmap for reopening society and business following the Covid-19 shutdown, which sees shows and festivals return from 10 August, provided that capacity restrictions and social distancing measures are complied with.

Under the five-step plan presented by Irish prime minister (taoiseach) Leo Varadkar, “festivals, events and other social and cultural mass gatherings” will make a comeback in the final stage, under certain constrictions.

The reopening of events will be contingent on “both indoor and outdoor number restrictions”, according to the exit plan, although the specifics of such capacity restrictions are not communicated.

It was announced last month, however, that events over 5,000 people would not return until after the end of August, leading to the cancellation of MCD Productions’ Longitude and Sunstroke festivals, as well as Pod/Aiken Promotions All Together festival.

Under the five-step plan “festivals, events and other mass gatherings” will make a comeback in the final stage, under certain constrictions

The plan also mandates that “social distancing” must be adhered to during events. Once again, the details of such measures are not laid out. Currently, social distancing in Ireland implies maintaining a distance of two metres between individuals.

The fifth phase of Ireland’s recovery will also see pubs and nightclubs open their doors, “where social distancing and strict cleaning can be complied with”.

The capacity reductions and social distancing measures referenced in Ireland’s reopening roadmap are akin to those imposed on venues in Spain, which released its exit strategy last week. Spain’s plan indicated that concerts could return as early as May with certain capacity and distancing restrictions, but was criticised by members of the live industry for being “unclear” and unrealistic for many promoters.

Photo: Peyton Edward/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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Pod Concerts’ John Reynolds passes aged 52

Irish concert promoter and artist manager John Reynolds, the founder of Pod Concerts and a former co-manager of Boyzone, has passed away aged 52.

Reynolds, one of the Republic of Ireland’s most successful independent promoters, co-founded the Electric Picnic festival with Robert Laffan in 2004 and formerly owned a string of venues, including Market Bar, IdleWild Bar and the famed Pod nightclub, in Dublin.

According to IQ’s recent Ireland market report, Reynolds, an ILMC member, also operated Dublin’s Button Factory venue and festivals around the city, including electronic music event Winterparty at 3Arena, Metropolis at the RDS complex and Forbidden Fruit at Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

He is also credited with the creation of Boyzone, loaning money to, and initially co-managing the band with, Louis Walsh in the mid-1990s.

A new Pod festival, the 15,000-cap. All Together Now in Waterford, launched to great success earlier this year.

Reynolds was found dead in his flat in Milltown, south Dublin, yesterday (26 October) evening.

A statement issued by his family reads: “It is with great sadness that the Reynolds family confirm the sudden death of John Reynolds of POD this evening.

“John, aged 52 years, who was one of Ireland’s leading independent festival and concert promoters, died suddenly at his home in Milltown, Dublin.

“Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days. The family requested privacy at this time.

“Metropolis Festival will go ahead this Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October as scheduled in the RDS, Dublin.”

“As a promoter, it was about the experience – putting on a string of best nights out – more than the business”

Robomagic’s Rob Hallett, who co-promoted Leonard Cohen in Ireland with Hallett (then at AEG), says: “Words fail me. [He was] an unbelievable promoter with the most amazing ideas and execution. I challenged him every time, and every time he came up trumps.

“Lissadell [House in Co. Sligo, where Cohen played in 2010] will live long in many memories. RIP.”

Reynolds’s friend Jim Carroll, writing for Irish broadcaster RTÉ, says he “displayed more imagination, energy, enthusiasm, spirit and crazy unique ideas before breakfast than many of his peers do in a lifetime”.

He writes: “Music may have been his main game, but he was informed by art, design, architecture, football and dozens of other things. Like the very best people, he was a relentless optimist, someone who battled and pushed and strived with an idea long after the rest of us would have given up. As a promoter, it was about the experience – putting on a string of best-nights-out – more than the business. He had that vision thing – and he drove some of us crazy with that fucking vision thing.

“Like many folks right now, I’m going to miss him. I knew him a long time. As you get older, such key associations and friendships get longer and deeper and you can always pick up the thread when there’s a gap. Like any long friendship, there were times when we fought like cats and dogs – he threw me head first out of the POD a few times over some row now long forgotten in the mists of time – but there was always a reconciliation. I valued the calls, the texts, the conversations, the encounters, the crazy ideas.

“I find it really hard to believe there won’t be more. Deepest, heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues in POD on this sad loss.”

 


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