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Prodiss urges Macron to support live’s recovery

Live music association Prodiss is urging Emmanuel Macron to remove obstacles to the French live sector’s recovery following his re-election as president last weekend.

Prodiss representatives united with theatre organisation SNDTP to publicly back the centrist politician “in conscience and responsibility” ahead of his run-off with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.

However, which congratulating Macron on his victory, Prodiss stresses its support is “not a blank cheque”, and has reminded the government of the assistance still required by the cultural sector as it emerges from the Covid crisis, particularly when it comes to live performance.

“In the immediate term, it is important to ensure a sustainable return of the French to performance halls and festivals, by removing the obstacles to a serene recovery, such as the sound decree [noise restriction],” says the organisation.

“It is important to encourage investment and initiative in a sector that was once competitive and dynamic”

“It is also important to encourage, from now on, investment and initiative in a sector that was once competitive and dynamic, by making the sector attractive again, despite the crisis it has suffered, punctuated by stop-and-go and after two years of heavy restrictions.

“In the medium term, we will make sure to maintain the permanent link with the government and the elected officials, like the one that has been ours throughout the period of the health crisis to face the major challenges that will be ours in the years to come.”

Earlier this year, Prodiss posed a series of questions on the future of live music to the country’s presidential candidates in the run-up to the election.

While concerts were able to resume at full capacity in France in February, the business previously joined forces with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the pandemic.

The groups claimed the industry had been “sacrificed” by the authorities after measures were re-imposed on the market amid the Omicron surge late last year.

 


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Prodiss challenges French presidential candidates

French music association Prodiss has posed a series of questions on the future of live music to the country’s presidential candidates in the run-up to next month’s election.

Prodiss president Olivier Darbois (Corida), general manager Malika Séguineau, and officials Marie Rigaud (Le Printemps de Pérouges), Olivier Cauchon (Diogène), Raphaëlle Plasse (Paris La Défense Arena) and Pierre-Alexandre Vertadier (Décibels Productions,) have now circulated six videos via its social media channels under the banner #6QuestionsPourLeLive, challenging the presidential hopefuls for concrete answers on specific issues pertaining to the live sector’s recovery.

Topics covered include The ‘Sound’ decree and its evolution; The return of the public to our rooms; The accessibility of presenters to performance halls, the territorial divide and access to culture; Fair treatment on security costs; Funding from the National Music Center; and The common future of live and digital platforms.

The series will conclude on Wednesday (30 March) with a question about digital platforms, asked by Séguineau.

“We are awaiting concrete answers concerning our professions, our sector”

“We are awaiting concrete answers concerning our professions, our sector,” says the organisation.

While concerts were able to resume at full capacity in France last month, the business previously joined forces with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the Covid crisis.

The groups claimed the industry had been “sacrificed” by the authorities after measures were re-imposed on the market amid the Omicron surge late last year.

The first round of the 2022 French presidential election will be held on 10 April. Prodiss sent an open letter to the declared candidates at the beginning of December 2021 in order to prepare the ground with the candidates.

A document of proposals is currently being drawn up to convey the needs and recommendations of the French performing arts sector for the next five years, which will formalise Prodiss’ five-year vision.

 


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Prodiss: ‘Everybody hopes for a lasting recovery’

Prodiss general manager Malika Seguineau has set out a mission statement for France’s live music industry as it attempts to return to rude health after two years of restrictions.

Since mid-February, all concerts in the country have been permitted to go ahead without capacity limits, with the requirement to wear masks dropped at the end of last month for people with vaccine passports. Prime minister Jean Castex said the pass could even be suspended if the Covid-19 situation improved dramatically.

Speaking of the sector’s “deep relief” and “enthusiasm”, Seguineau expresses her hope for a sustained resurgence for the industry, but advises it will be necessary to rebuild customer confidence over the coming weeks and months.

“These circumstances are happy for our sector, and for all French people,” she says. “For two years , the latter mainly lived their cultural experiences at a distance. It is high time to rediscover the ‘sense of reality’, to return in real life to theatres, concerts and festivals.

“All the professionals with whom I interact daily have told me of their deep relief and their enthusiasm. Everyone hopes, this time, for this lasting recovery.”

The live music association previously told the French government “words of support can no longer be enough” after Covid measures were re-imposed on the performing arts sector amid the Omicron surge late last year.

“Since the reopening, we have seen a feverish public, who need to be reassured, or who have lost their habits”

Prodiss united with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the crisis

Seguineau elaborates on how the stop-start nature of the past 24 months has placed a tremendous strain on event organisers.

“For two years , they have been doing and undoing,” she says. “They lived to the rhythm of the incessant ‘stop-and-go’ of a crisis that had become structural and systemic and which for a long time prevented any visibility of the future.

“After two years , we have the obligation to rethink ourselves: to be and to be reborn. To gather again and find a new dynamic. But this will first and foremost involve re-instilling confidence in the public.

“The entire sector was widely stigmatised in public debate during this period, weakening an entire ecosystem and an entire economy. Today, the reflexes are still far from having returned. Since the reopening, we have seen a feverish public, who need to be reassured, or who have lost their habits.

“This will be one of the many projects that we still have to carry out to fully find ourselves, vibrate again, share moments of communion and rebuild this emotional link.”

 


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Prodiss blasts treatment of French live sector

Prodiss has told the French government “words of support can no longer be enough” after the country’s performing arts sector was again hit by Covid restrictions.

Standing concerts have been banned as part of fresh measures announced on 27 December, with indoor seated events limited to 2,000 capacity and outdoor gatherings restricted to 5,000 people. Nightclubs will also remain closed until further notice.

In response, the live music association has united with fellow cultural organisations SMA, SCENES, SNDTP, CAMULC, FESAC and Tous Pour La Musique to denounce the “stigmatisation” of live performance since the onset of the crisis in early 2020.

“We want to work with visibility on future measures and long-term support”

“[For] two years this sector has lived to the rhythm of ‘stop and go’, which in reality has become ‘stop and stop’,” says a joint statement. “Culture can no longer be the adjustment variable for a political discourse steeped in symbols.

“Faced with this crisis, which is no longer cyclical but now structural and systemic, we want to work with visibility on future measures and long-term support.”

In a column published by Le Figaro, the groups claim the industry has been “sacrificed” by the authorities, who they accuse of lacking “vision and ambition”.

“Professionals in this sector have been trying to survive for almost two years now, sometimes clinging to optimistic announcements from the government,” it says. “But the long-awaited revival is now moving away a little further for them every day. The sector is getting bogged down, losing its teams and talents: the job not only makes people dream, it scares people.

“The latest government announcements of 27 December are a further blow to the performing arts… The French now consider the act of buying a show ticket as a risk.”

“What we finally want is long-term support. We need to plan for 2030 and not for three weeks”

The statement suggests the latest measures disregard the findings from last year’s test concert in France, which showed that attending shows posed no increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed. The clinical trial, organised by Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’, took place on 29 May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine.

“Last-minute trial and error responses must now give way to anticipated, concerted responses, and above all guided by a course, a vision,” it continues. “We are now the only ones to assume our financial risks in the face of cancellation and postponement costs, consuming our liquidity even before being able to find a serene climate which does not arrive.

“What we want is to work, with visibility, on the measures to come. But above all, what we want is medium-term visibility, allowing a lasting recovery of our activities.

“What we finally want is long-term support. Two years is a long time for culture. We need a plan for 2030. And not for three weeks. What we want, in short, is a little ambition and vision for the show, which brings together and transcends classes and generations in the face of the temptation to withdraw that threatens us.”

 


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Olivier Darbois re-elected as Prodiss president

Olivier Darbois has been re-elected as president of French live music industry association Prodiss.

Darbois, who is director of Paris-based promoter Corida, was vice-president of Prodiss before succeeding Luc Gaurichon of Caramba Spectacles in the top job in 2018.

As well as outlining his priorities for his new three-year term, Darbois was keen to praise the organisation’s work during the pandemic.

The unity of the Prodiss office and membership has been an incredible force

“Over the past two years, the unity of the Prodiss office and membership has been an incredible force in defending the interests of private performing arts professionals,” said Darbois.

“We still have many projects ahead of us: in the short term, continue to work in the face of a never-ending crisis. In the medium term, to strengthen the CNM [Centre National de la Musique]. In the longer term, to respond to the challenge we face with distributors, with the establishment of a ticketing observatory, and position ourselves in relation to the arrival of platforms in our sector.”

Prodiss also confirmed its new board, comprising Gilles Petit of Little Bros Productions; Frederic Saint-Dizier of Label LN, Aurelien Binder of Pleyel Gestion; Marie Sabot of We Love Green; Angelo Gopee of Live Nation SAS; Julien Lavergne of AZ Prod; Sylvie Liogier of Zen Gestion, Zenith de Saint-Etienne; and Christophe Davy of Radical Production Festival Levitation.

The trade body represents around 400 members including Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris, Live Nation France Festivals, Live Nation SAS and Mama.

In September, it announced a new cancellation insurance policy exclusively for its members to “support the restart of the activity” in the performing arts sector, while last month it successfully lobbied to remove the 75% capacity limit on standing events.

 


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France lifts concert standing restrictions

Indoor concerts and nightclubs in France will no longer have to limit standing at live events to 75% capacity in the wake of a government ruling.

French live music association Prodiss successfully lobbied for the switch, empowered by the results of the test concert it organised earlier in the year with Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’.

The clinical trial, which took place in May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine, showed that attending a concert is not associated with an increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed.

This is the end of the stigma of standing gauges

“This is the end of the stigma of standing gauges,” tweeted Prodiss, which represents around 400 members including Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris, Live Nation France Festivals, Live Nation SAS and Mama.

The wearing of masks is still recommended at gigs, while the implementation of health passes, providing proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test, to gain entry will be maintained for the time being.

The decision to lift capacity restrictions comes despite rising Covid cases across Europe. Concerts in the Netherlands have just been postponed after the Dutch government imposed a new partial lockdown for at least the next three weeks, while Austria has imposed a lockdown on unvaccinated citizens.

Prodiss recently announced a new cancellation insurance policy exclusively for its members to “support the restart of the activity” in the performing arts sector.

 


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Prodiss launches cancellation insurance policy

Prodiss has announced a new cancellation insurance policy exclusively for its members to “support the restart of the activity” in the performing arts sector.

The French live music association has negotiated two “tailor-made” insurance solutions with Aon, an insurance broker with expertise in the entertainment sector, and Areas/Maif, French insurers active in the cinema sector.

The first solution is intended to cover the cancellation risks for producers, concert promoters and festival organisers with pre-agreed and competitive rates, including an option to cover the risks of unavailability of persons linked to the Covid-19.

The second solution is designed to cover financial losses for venue operators, also with a competitive pricing approach.

Prodiss represents around 400 members including Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris and Mama

Prodiss tells IQ it will not bear the cost of the contracts but will simply provide its members with competitive contracts. The association would not reveal any other terms at this time.

Prodiss represents around 400 members including Accor Arena in Paris, the Bataclan in Paris, Live Nation France Festivals, Live Nation SAS and Mama.

In February this year, the French government announced a framework along with a €30 million fund which would compensate organisers – both for losses incurred due to the implementation of alternative formats and in the event that festivals are cancelled due to an increasing Covid-19 infection rate.

Insurance schemes have already been announced in the UK (£800m), Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).

 

Paris test results: Concerts don’t pose extra Covid risk

The findings from a recent test concert in France show that attending a concert is not associated with an increased risk of transmission when certain hygiene and testing protocols are followed.

The clinical trial, organised by French live music association Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP under the banner ‘Ambition Live Again’, took place on 29 May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine.

The trial compared the risk of contamination between two randomised groups: an experimental group of 4,451 people who attended the concert and a control group of 2,227 people who did not attend the concert.

In the first stage, 6,968 people took a rapid antigen test within three days of the concert. Of those, 290 people had ‘non-inclusion criteria’ – one of whom had a positive rapid antigen test – and were not allowed to participate in the experiment.

On the day of the concert, all participants had to present proof of their negative test at the entrance, either downloaded on the TousAntiCovid-Carnet app – which was trialled for the first time at a public cultural event – or in paper format.

Throughout the event, participants’ compliance with wearing masks was assessed by an artificial intelligence tool

The health protocols at the event included the continuous wearing of surgical masks by all participants, reinforcement of hand sanitisation, and optimised ventilation of the room. The bars/restaurants and the smoking areas were closed. Bottles of water were distributed at will.

Throughout the event, participants’ compliance with wearing masks was assessed by an artificial intelligence tool from images captured in real-time by cameras placed in the room thanks to a scientific collaboration with Datakalab.

During the four hours that attendees were present in the AccorArena, the overall compliance with wearing a mask was evaluated at 91%.

Seven days after the event, all participants were required to take a PCR test. The number of participants with a positive PCR test was eight among the 3,917 participants in the experimental group, compared to three among the 1,947 participants in the control group.

Among those eight participants in the experimental group, five were already positive on the day of the concert, excluding the possibility of contamination during the show. Some participants did not return their saliva samples or did not come to the concert.

Prodiss says that its primary aim now is to dissuade the government from a “stop and go” approach

In conclusion, the study showed a similar infection rate in people attending the indoor, standing concert while wearing a mask (0.20%) compared to the people not attending (0.15%). (The incidence rate observed in the study corresponds to the estimated incidence rate in France in the two weeks preceding the event.)

AP-HP is now submitting the analysed data from the study for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, while Prodiss has requested a meeting with the government to discuss next steps.

The association says that its primary aim now is to dissuade the government from a “stop and go” approach and avoid the live industry shutting down when the incidence rate goes up.

The Paris results follow similar positive data out of studies in multiple other European countries, all of which showed that live events do not pose a risk to public health while Covid-19 is still a threat.

 


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France to lift all restrictions on outdoor shows

There will be no capacity restrictions on open-air concerts and festivals in France from 30 June, in news that will be welcomed by the live music industry but which comes too late for many summer festivals.

Following sustained lobbying by industry associations and the success of the Ambition Live Again pilot concert, as of next Wednesday concert organisers will be able to do away with social distancing, and the current attendance cap of 5,000 people, for outdoor events. Indoor shows, meanwhile, remain limited to 75% of capacity.

All events of more than 1,000 people must ask for attendees’ pass sanitaire, the French health passport, certifying that they have had both vaccines or a negative Covid-19 test in the last 48 hours. Masks are advised but not compulsory.

Previously outdoor festivals in France were limited to 5,000 people, seated, with social distancing equivalent to a space of 4m² for each festivalgoer. “It was unrealistic; people can not sit in their own little square,” says Aurélie Hannedouche, head of the Union of Contemporary Music (SMA).

Hannedouche tells Le Dauphiné libéré she welcomes the news but notes that it comes too late for events like Hellfest and Rock en Seine. “The resumption of standing concerts is good news, but it will be hard to readjust for festivals planned around mid-July,” she adds.

“We haven’t had any standing shows for fifteen months. Now we will be able to restart”

Malika Seguineau, head of live music industry association Prodiss, also welcomes the resumption of standing concerts, but criticises the need for the pass sanitaire for bigger shows. “People do not understand it,” she says.

“I’ve had festivalgoers tell me that they cannot attend come because they did not have their two doses of the vaccine, but this is not a vaccination passport – all it takes is a recent test,” adds Jérôme Tréhorel, director of Les Vieilles Charrues, which is taking place in a smaller, socially distanced format, compliant with the previous regulations, from 8 to 18 July.

Additionally, the préfets which represent the French government in each region can also overrule the national guidelines in the event of a severe local health situation.

Regardless of of these reservations, the return of full-capacity live music to France after nearly year and a half is a cause for celebration, Seguineau tells Le Monde. “We haven’t had any standing shows for fifteen months. Now we will be able to restart, within these conditions.”

With this week’s announcement, France joins other European countries incluyding Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and the UK in having set a date this summer for the resumption of non-socially distanced shows.

 


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Paris test concert finally rescheduled

After a series of stops and starts, French live music association Prodiss and Paris hospital AP-HP have finally been given the green light for the Paris test concert.

The clinical trial was initially announced in February and should have taken place in April but the scheme got “stuck on the government side”, with the ministry of culture proving “unreachable” amid the new lockdown measures.

The experiment, dubbed ‘Ambition Live Again’, will now take place on 29 May at the Accor Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris with DJ Etienne de Crécy and the band Indochine.

The trial will compare the risk of contamination between two randomised groups: an experimental group of 5,000 people will attend the concert and a control group of 2,500 people will not attend the concert.

The trial will compare the risk of contamination between two randomised groups

The concertgoers will be required to take an antigen test a maximum of 72 hours before the concert and a PCR test seven days after the concert, while the control group will take a self-test on the day of the concert.

Once inside, attendees will not socially distance, though everyone will be required to wear a mask.

The scientific team specified that the participants could not be people at risk and must be in an age group between 18-45 years old and live in Ile-de-France. A full list of criteria can be found on the Ambition Live Again website.

The sister pilot in Marseille was also hit by delays and has not yet been rescheduled. As reported in IQ, a thousand people are expected to attend the two shows at the Dôme (cap. 8,500) in Marseille, which will see performances from French hip-hop group Iam.

See IQ‘s extensive timeline of live music pilot projects here and read about them in-depth here.

 


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