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UK live industry welcomes first CRF results

Some of the UK’s most iconic music venues, renowned independent festivals, and key music organisations are among the first-round recipients of the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund, designed to support arts organisations survive the pandemic.

The department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) today revealed the 1,385 arts organisations that will benefit from a share of £257 million. In this first round of funding, organisations that applied for grants under one million were announced.

Applicants in the live industry set to receive some of the largest grants include: DHP Family, which operates a number of music venues across the UK including Nottingham’s Rock City, Bristol’s Thekla and London’s Oslo, which was awarded £908,000; Bush Hall in West London, granted £679,000; and SSD Music, the promoter behind Newcastle’s Virgin Money Unity Arena, which receives £700,000.

Some of the UK’s most iconic venues also received funding, including the 100 Club (350) in London, which was granted £491,000, and The Cavern Club (250) in Liverpool, which gained £525,000.

Among the festivals to receive grants are Y-Not Festival (£240,000); Deer Shed Festival (£238,500); Cropredy Festival (£200,000); End of the Road Festival (£250,000); Love Supreme Festival (£118,524) and Slam Dunk (£175,981).

“71% of AIF members who applied for a CRF grant in round one have been offered funding and it’s nothing short of a lifeline”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden says: “The government is here for culture and we have worked around the clock to get this record investment out to the frontline. It will allow our wonderful theatres, museums, music venues and cultural organisations to survive this crisis and start putting on performances again – protecting jobs and creating new work for freelancers. This is just the start – with hundreds of millions pounds more on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help.”

Music Venue Trust, which has been working closely with DCMS and Arts Council England, which dispersed the fund, says today’s news is a “huge step forward in the efforts to reopen every venue safely”.

“Saving our grassroots venue sector requires a massive jigsaw puzzle of efforts, from the smallest local fundraiser by a community desperate to keep its cherished local venue, to the enormous scope of the government’s Cultural Recovery Fund, one of the largest such funds in the world,” says Mark Dayvd, CEO at MVT.

“This intervention today helps enormously, giving MVT, our sector, and our communities an achievable opportunity to complete the English section of the jigsaw. We keenly await results from funding applications in Wales, and of round two of this fund. Our work with the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to seek further support for venues there.

“This grant allows us to look to the future, continuing to create artistic opportunities and work for our community”

MVT has pledged to work with the venues that were ineligible or unsuccessful for funding to meet its goal of reopening every venue safely – “an aim that, with this support from the government, we are confident is now achievable”.

Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) CEO, Paul Reed, says: “We warmly welcome this intervention from government and the results of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund. 71% of AIF members who applied for a CRF grant in round one have been offered funding and it’s nothing short of a lifeline for those who have been successful. We thank DCMS and Arts Council England for this support, which amounts to almost £4.5m into the independent festival sector across our membership.

“This will have a hugely positive impact on the survival of these businesses. We are pleased that we were able to work positively with DCMS officials to ensure that festival organisers were eligible for the fund and they should be praised for their diligence in supporting the sector. We’re also aware that not all independent festivals had good news today and not all received funding. We’ll continue to support, represent and fight for our membership throughout this crisis.”

Association of Independent Music (AIM) CEO, Paul Pacifico, says: “It’s fantastic to see the first tranche of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund announced. While there is still a long way to go, this is a great start and we are grateful to see £257 million distributed to such a broad range of applicants, who are being supported across so many art forms and music genres, and in so many different parts of the country.

“50% of our funding will go directly to the self-employed musicians and technicians who have not been able to earn since March”

“We will continue to engage with our colleagues at DCMS and the Arts Council England to help wherever we can to optimise each round of funding as it becomes available, making sure it is invested broadly but also strategically so that our sector can bounce back as rapidly and holistically as possible.”

Nathan Clark, owner of Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, granted £220, 429, says: “We are delighted at the news and the huge immediate impact it will have. The support the Culture Recovery Fund will give, directly provides long term survival, security and resilience for the Brudenell. We recognise the opportunity and responsibility the package gives, which allows us to look to the future, continuing to create artistic opportunities, work for our community and to further expand our offering.”

Jon Keats, director at The Cavern Club, awarded £525,000, says: “We are delighted to have received positive news at a time of great uncertainty for our industry as a whole. This funding will help protect ninety jobs and to potentially recoup around 20% of our total losses over the period March 2020 – 21. Importantly, 50% of our funding will go directly to the self-employed musicians and technicians who have not been able to earn since March. We will bring substantial live music back into our venue as soon as we are allowed to and we are already looking to stream our musicians performances in the meantime.”

Other beneficiaries include Ministry Of Sound (£975,468); Islington Assembly Hall (£235,564); Clapham Grand (£300,000); Crosstown Concerts (£212,950); Manchester’s Gorilla (£255,500) and Deaf Institute (£148,000); Eat Your Own Ears (£99,066); Portsmouth Guildhall (£215,000) and Sound City (£75,000).

Camden’s Electric Ballroom (£206,974); Hebden Bridge Trades Club (£61,723); Exeter Cavern (£50,000), Leeds-based Futuresound Events (£219,368); Hackney Empire (£585,064); Hootananny Brixton (£250,000); Independent Label Market (£50,784); Inner City Music (£211,200); The George Tavern (£222,030) and Brighton Dome (£493,000) have also received grants.

Further grants are due to be announced soon, including those for larger organisations between £1 and £3 million.

 


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Save Our Stages Act passes through House of Reps

The House of Representatives has passed the Save Our Stages Act, a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US.

The Democratic-controlled House passed the act on Thursday (1 October) as part of the wider, revised $2.2 trillion Heroes Act coronavirus stimulus package.

The Save Our Stages campaign was initially launched by the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), a newly formed alliance of US grassroots music venues, which wrote to members of the US Congress in April to ask for immediate assistance for a sector it says is facing an existential crisis as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Subsequently, senators Amy Klobuchar (a Democrat) and John Cornyn (a Republican) authored the Save Our Stages act in July, which proposes grants of either 45% of gross revenue from 2019 or $12m (whichever is less), as well as supplemental grants of up to half the original grant if the entity is still experiencing 80%+ revenue loss as of Dec. 1, 2020.

“We’re cautiously optimistic our elected officials understand that if they assist now, we can be part of the economic renewal”

The grants could be used for payroll and benefits, rent, utilities, mortgage interest payments, interest payments, insurance, personal protective equipment (PPE), existing loans, payments to 1099 employees, and other ordinary and necessary business expenses.

Senator Klobuchar said: “We hope our elected officials come together on Covid-19 assistance in the coming days, not weeks or even months. Our small, independent businesses, which normally contribute billions of dollars to local economies, are on the precipice of mass collapse if this critical funding doesn’t come through.

“We’re cautiously optimistic our elected officials understand that if they assist us now, we can be part of the economic renewal of small towns and big cities, since for every $1 spent on a concert ticket at a small venue, $12 of economic activity is generated for area businesses like restaurants, retail shops, and hotels. This investment will pay off for communities and workers in all 50 states and Washington DC.”

The act was authored after NIVA published a survey revealing that 90% of its members said that if the shutdowns lasted six months or more with no federal help, they would never reopen.

Currently, NIVA has nearly 2,000 charter members in all 50 states, including 9:30 Club in D.C., First Avenue in Minneapolis, Chicago Independent Venue LeagueWorld Cafe Live in PhiladelphiaPabst Theater Group in MilwaukeeRed River Cultural District in Austin, and Exit/In in Nashville.

 


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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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UK govt dedicates £2.25m to grassroots venues

The UK government has announced that the first tranche of funding from its £1.57 billion cultural recovery package will be used to save around 150 grassroots music venues from insolvency.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden made the announcement over the weekend, saying that £2.25 million from the overall package has been earmarked to support venues at imminent risk of collapse.

The money is expected to benefit up to 150 venues across the country and will be received by organisations within the next few weeks.

Arts Council England will administer the financial support, providing grants of up to £80,000 to help cover essential on-going costs including rent, utilities, maintenance contracts and other bills incurred between 4 August and 30 September 2020.

Eligible venues include those that present live grassroots music events in any music genre, including multi-arts venues that host other events alongside a main music programme and those that play “a significant role” in developing talent.

The fund is being launched at the request of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, which recently urged the government to do more to support the live industry. Members of the UK live music industry had also previously raised concerns over the lack of information surrounding the distribution of funds from the rescue package, which was first unveiled at the beginning of July.

“Nearly all of our globally successful music stars started out at UK clubs and live music venues – and we must make sure those organisations weather the Covid storm”

Further information on eligibility criteria and funding distribution is expected this week.

“Without our grassroots music venues, we wouldn’t have the Beatles, Adele or Elton John. Nearly all of our globally successful music stars started out at UK clubs and live music venues – and we must make sure those organisations weather the Covid storm,” comments Dowden.

“The first £2.25m of our unprecedented cultural rescue package is targeted at their survival. We’re working to deliver the rest of the £1.57bn emergency package as quickly as possible, so that we can protect and preserve our precious culture, arts and heritage for future generations.”

Beverley Whitrick of the Music Venue Trust (MVT) says the organisation “warmly welcomes” the funding for grassroot venues facing “urgent, short-term challenges”.

“Without this help, the sector would be facing a wave of permanent closures,” says Whitrick. “Throughout this crisis we have worked closely with DCMS and are delighted that the urgent need for this intervention has been recognised and responded to.”

MVT has also been working with the government in Scotland, where £2.2m was recently dedicated to supporting grassroots venues.

The news come as venues across the UK struggle in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, with many having to cut staff, or being forced to close their doors forever. Manchester venues Gorilla and Deaf Institute were recently saved from the brink of closure after being bought by venue operator Tokyo Industries.

Applications for the UK funding are open until 3 August. More information about the fund and how to apply is available here.

 


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

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