fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Switzerland returns to full-capacity concerts

Switzerland has abolished capacity restrictions on public events in a further relaxation of the country’s coronavirus measures.

As of 26 June, events with more than 10,000 people can take place with attendees who can prove they are vaccinated against, have recovered from, or have tested negative for Covid-19.

Cantons will need to approve events with more than 1,000 people but smaller public gatherings can now go ahead without authorisation.

Venues may operate at full capacity, though they must provide a hygiene and safety plan that shows how entry will be restricted only to people with Covid certificates.

Events can take place which do not require Covid certificates, though capacity and seating restrictions will apply. If the concert is seated, a maximum of 1,000 people may attend. If the concert is standing, the maximum is 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.

Events can take place which do not require Covid certificates, though capacity and seating restrictions will apply

Masks must be worn where food and drink are served, though otherwise, masks are no longer required outdoors. Dancing at events and concerts is still banned.

The Swiss Music Promoters’ Association (SMPA) has welcomed the rollback of restrictions but says it’s crucial that the “protective umbrella” is introduced as quickly as possible across Switzerland, and in a uniform way, in order for the live industry to take full advantage.

Each of the 26 cantons will be responsible for co-financing and implementing the scheme – which has long been a cause for concern for the event associations.

“The majority of the cantons are not yet ready and so the confidence of the industry representatives seriously diminishes,” says the SMPA. “Ultimately, it is important to them that framework conditions and protection concepts are defined uniformly, leanly and practically throughout Switzerland and that they are not strained cantonally or locally.”

The SMPA also argues that the live events industry shouldn’t have to absorb the costs of the restrictions that remain.

“We demand that costs for infrastructure, personnel and tests on-site are borne by the public purse”

“We demand that costs for infrastructure, personnel and tests on-site are borne by the public purse, not just the test material. In view of the increasing number of events, the cantons also need additional test capacities in the regions with major events,” it writes.

The association says that the relaxation of coronavirus measures has restored confidence in some promoters, though the news comes too late for many festival organisers.

OpenAir St.Gallen (1–4 July), Gurtenfestival (14–17 July), Caribana Festival (16–20 July), Thunerseespiele (14–28 August), Paléo Festival Nyon (19–25 July), Greenfield Festival (3–5 June), Rock the Ring (17–19 June) and Baloise Session (23 October to 10 November) called off their 2021 editions earlier this year.

The remaining festivals in Swizterland’s summer season include Summer Now (Biel), Montreux Jazz Festival, Winterthur Music Festival Weeks, Open Air Gampel, SummerDays Festival (Arbon), Seaside Festival (Spiez), Cheerful Events (Zofingen), Weihern Open Air (St. Gallen), Blausee Concerts, and Unique Moments (Zurich).

Switzerland is the latest market to announce the resumption of non-socially distanced shows, along with France, Belgium, the Netherlands, DenmarkAustria and the UK.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Germany announces €2.5bn event cancellation fund

The German federal government has announced a €2.5 billion cancellation fund to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

The cancellation fund was first announced by state secretary Bettina Hagedorn during a Reeperbahn Festival Focus Session on 3 December and was later reinforced by finance minister Olaf Scholz during an interview with the Tagesspiegel.

Scholz said that the federal government would like to reimburse all costs “which were made in optimistic expectation and cannot be realised due to corona restrictions” for events in the second half of 2021. “Otherwise the pandemic will be over at some point, but there will be no concerts. And so the whole machinery with the many self-employed soloists and musicians gets back on its feet,” he added.

Scholz says he is also working on a funding program to support cultural events that are financially impacted by capacity restrictions enforced due to coronavirus, as well as hybrid shows.

In October, the Austrian federal government announced a similar scheme to remove the risk for event organisers and allow them to carry on business as usual.

Under the country’s €300m ‘protective umbrella’, the government pledged to bear the costs of shows that were organised during the restrictions (at the time, a limit of 1,000 people seated indoors or 1,500 outdoors) but were cancelled due to new rules.

The gov will reimburse costs “which were made in optimistic expectation and cannot be realised due to corona restrictions”

The same went for any reduction in capacity limits, as well as costs such as hotel rooms, crew wages and event technology. Companies based in other countries but which organise events in Austria were also able to benefit from the funding.

The protective umbrella was put to use sooner rather than later when Austria went into lockdown on 3 November. The lockdown was lifted today, however leisure facilities and cultural institutions will not be permitted to reopen.

The Danish government also launched a scheme in the autumn to encourage the restart of events, which was centred on compensation rather than insurance.

Cultural institutions, such as music venues, could apply for substantial subsidies to fund socially-distanced events taking place during September and October.

The government offered compensation of up to 65% of an event’s cost for organisers of audience-oriented cultural activities such as concerts to a limit of DKK 1.5 million per event.

Organisations could apply for grants for several activities – such as a concert series – in the same application and request funding for both direct and indirect costs.

Read more about the complexities of insuring concerts while Covid-19 is still at large in IQ’s feature, here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

€300m ‘umbrella’ for Austrian promoters

The Austrian federal government has announced a €300 million ‘protective umbrella’ to provide certainty for promoters of concerts, trade shows and other live events.

The new funding is designed to remove the risk for event organisers, to allow them to carry on business as usual: If shows organised during the current level of restrictions (at the time of writing, a limit of 1,000 people seated indoors or 1,500 outdoors) are cancelled due to new rules, the government will bear the costs of the cancellation.

The same goes for any reduction in capacity limits, and includes costs such as hotel rooms, crew wages and event technology. Smaller concerts and shows organised under the current rules should be able to benefit from the ‘umbrella’, according to German publication Backstage Pro, which is calling for similar measures in Germany.

Companies based in other countries but which organise events in Austria are also able to benefit from the funding.

“For the first time, the Austrian event industry […] sees a small ray of hope at the end of the tunnel,” comments Erik Kastner of industry association Austria Event Pool (AEP). “Austria is now the only country in which the government pays the upfront costs if an event is cancelled because of the coronavirus measures.”

“This ‘protective screen’ is the most important measure for the event industry”

Herwig Straka, board member of another association, Emba, similarly welcomes the funding. “In my opinion, the ‘protective screen’ is the most important measure for the event industry,” he says, adding that it “creates the certainty that is so important for this industry to be able to restart its engine.”

“Now, we can resume providing live experiences while protecting our industry’s jobs,” Straka explains.

While the programme has yet to be approved at a European level (which might prove less than straightforward, given the recent controversy around the ‘fixed-cost subsidy’ for businesses), Austrian tourism minister Elisabeth Köstinger (pictured) is confident it will be able to come into force at the beginning of November.

“Even if the details of this fund still have to be worked out, it holds the prospect of a restart for our heavily affected industry,” adds Gerhard Stübe, managing director of the Austrian Convention Bureau.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.