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Prodiss: ‘No festival should be cancelled in 2024’

Live music organisation Prodiss has joined a raft of other French industry trade bodies in pleading for no festivals to be cancelled as a result of the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

The 2024 Olympics are scheduled for 26 July to 11 August, with the Paralympics to follow from 28 August to 8 September.

Le Journal du Dimanche reports that the scale of the security operation has led to concerns that other events held at the same time will be left short on personnel. The interior minister has asked for “the postponement of certain festivals” that summer, while the culture minister has spoken of “certain cancellations if solutions are not found”.

Prodiss president Olivier Darbois, director of Paris-based promoter Corida, is one of 25 signatories of an open letter to president Emmanuel Macron, calling for cultural events planned for the duration of the 2024 Games to be maintained.

“Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy… they are part of our identity”

“This will be an opportunity for millions of visitors to come and discover our country,” states the letter. “It will also be a time when France, watched by the whole world, must show its most beautiful face… But for the past few days, we have been extremely worried, because culture is on the way to being the great forgotten part of this beautiful picture.

“Summer, for the French men and women, for the cultural world, and for decades, is the time of festivals. Festivals are not only essential to an entire local economy, they are also an eventful, festive and cultural time, a time of meeting and social bonding, which is the pride of the territories, the elected officials and the volunteers who welcome and participate in them.

“They are part of our identity. They allow professionals to work and show their know-how, artists, musicians, actors, directors to get started and sometimes achieve national or international fame. They generate a substantial number of hours of work, so important for intermittent workers in the entertainment industry as well as for many seasonal workers.”

Other signatories on the letter include France Festivals, the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers, the Civil Society for the Administration of the Rights of Performing Artists and Musicians, and the Federation of contemporary music venues, as well as music union SMA.

“We ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024

“We, elected officials and professionals, know the constraints of managing such events,” it continues. “We also know that the means are not unlimited, those of our communities first and foremost.

“We are the first to understand that the organisation of an event of the magnitude of the [Olympics] will require a very important security infrastructure, and also that the festivals require to be secured. But we would not understand if our country, the seventh economic power in the world, is not capable at the same time of hosting the Olympic Games and maintaining the organisation of these major festivals which make up a major part of the cultural wealth of our country and of our territories.”

The letter concludes: “What place would we give to culture and its festivals in our country, if they become a simple adjustment variable according to the availability of the police? Especially since the consequences of the health crisis are still being felt and the energy crisis is also threatening performance venues.

“This is why, Mr President… we ask you to solemnly commit that no festival will be cancelled in France during the summer of 2024, and that solutions be found and objectified in connection with local authorities and the whole world of culture.”

 


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Prodiss report highlights post-Covid gig habits

Almost a third of French music fans say they will attend fewer events going forward after the pandemic, according to the results of live association Prodiss’ latest Live Barometer.

Produced by the Toluna Harris Interactive polling institute, the annual report surveyed 1,010 people aged 15 and over about their concert-going habits.

After two heavily interrupted years due to Covid-19, the results give an opportunity to take stock of the impact of the crisis on event-goers. While 49% of respondents said they will not change their habits, 18% say they would now attend more concerts, whereas the remaining 32% would go to a show less often.

Purchasing power was the overriding concern, with a lack of disposable income given as the main reason by 48%, with the fear of contracting Covid-19 (22%) and a preference for other activities (19%) also cited.

The survey of 1,010 French people was conducted online from 14-15 September 2022

The motivations for going to shows were to hear quality sound (89%), to take their mind off things (88%), to feel emotions and experience something exceptional (87%) , or sharing moments with family or friends (86%). Finally, 58% of live spectators said they would be encouraged to go to the show for interactive experiences or augmented reality.

In addition, 75% of spectators indicate that live events’ commitment to the environment is important to them, with 23% deeming it “very important” and 52% “rather important”. Key areas of concert include good waste management (63%), preservation of the show site (53%), energy savings (47%) and access to less polluting transport (44%).

The survey was conducted online from 14-15 September 2022 and is available in its entirety here. The results were unveiled to coincide with last month’s MaMA Music & Convention Festival.

 


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French sector faces ‘slow and difficult recovery’

French live association Prodiss is warning the sector must face up to a “slow and difficult recovery” from the pandemic, amid a mixed season for the country’s festivals so far.

Earlier this month, Live Nation France bosses hailed a stellar year for the returning Main Square Festival, which attracted a record 150,000-strong crowd over four days, while Les Francofolies de La Rochelle pulled in 280,000 visitors in five days and Hellfest reported 420,000 fans over seven days.

However, others such as the four-day Aluna Festival, which drew 65,000 people overall, were less satisfied with their summer’s business. “We’re going to be in a financial deficit, it’s depressing,” founding president Jean Boucher told Le Dauphine.

“When we say the festivals are resuming, we must not think that we have regained the growth of 2019 before the health crisis. This is not the case,” says Prodiss general manager Malika Seguineau, according to France 24.

“The number of festivals is crazy. Artists’ fees are rising and ticket prices have not increased”

The report cites now familiar problems for the business of over-supply, increased production costs and shortage of experienced personnel.

It adds that huge events such as Aluna, Hellfest, Solidays in Paris and an Iron Maiden concert at Paris La Defense Arena were all held around the same time in late June, with a similar situation arising this past weekend with the Francofolies, Vieilles Charrues Festival, Lollapalooza Paris and and Coldplay at Stade de France.

“The French have changed their behaviour,” notes Seguineau. “They buy tickets very late saying to themselves, ‘If I have the Covid, I will have to cancel,’ and they also sometimes already have three postponed shows in their hands.”

“The number of festivals is crazy,” says Francofolies boss Gérard Pont. “Artists’ fees are rising and ticket prices have not increased.”

Seguineau, who set out a mission statement for the post-pandemic recovery of France’s live music sector earlier this year, adds that Prodiss will “take stock in September” to “reflect on an economic model perhaps at the end of a cycle”, and suggests the industry needs more external support than it is currently receiving.

“We are not asking to live on a drip, but we are saying we need a stronger CNM [Centre national de la musique] to respect its commitment to develop structuring support programmes, to help us take risks.”

 


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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).