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

Spanish venues endure “broadest restrictions in Europe”

Spanish concert halls are suffering under the broadest restrictions in Europe, according to a recent study by Live DMA.

While many European markets have fully reopened – or are planning to – Spanish venues are either still shuttered or are operating with a number of restrictions that make it “economically unfeasible’ for them to open their doors.

The country’s live sector is still reckoning with restrictions that include social distancing, mask-wearing and capacity limits, despite having the third-highest (73%) vaccination rate in Europe.

Spain’s association of live music venues, ACCES, is now demanding the full reopening of the live music sector, in line with the European Union guidelines for the safe resumption of cultural activities.

The EU guidelines say that member states must continue to adopt a strategic and phased approach to reopening, increasing capacity limits if the vaccination rate progresses sufficiently.

“[Spain has] the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign”

Many European countries such as England, Denmark and Norway have already removed restrictions on live events, while others such as Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Lithuania plan to do so at the end of this month – all of which have a lower vaccination rate than that of Spain.

“We do not understand why Spain, being at the head of the population vaccination rates, also continues to lead the countries with the greatest restrictions on cultural spaces such as concert halls,” writes ACCES. “Requiring the same social distance and practically the same limitations and capacity reductions as before the vaccination campaign began.

“These limitations, given our high vaccination rate, must be lifted or at least mitigated so that we are allowed to carry out our activity normally again, that is: Without social distance, with full capacity and with the possibility of consumption in the bars, because if not now, then when?”

Last year, Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) reported that around 25,000 concerts were cancelled last year in Spain, causing a total loss of €120 million for concert halls, which prompted numerous protests and demonstrations including The Last Concert and #alertaroja.

 


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.

Dutch live industry furious about indoor capacity limit

Key figures from the Netherlands’ live sector say the new 75%-capacity limit for indoor standing events is “unsubstantiated, arbitrary and extremely harmful”.

The measure was announced yesterday (14 September) by the Dutch government as part of a wider rollback of restrictions, planned for 25 September.

The live industry, which recently galvanised more than 150,000 residents to protest restrictions on live entertainment, has hit back at the government for delaying a full reopening.

“As a sector, we have really done everything we can to influence decision-making and provide substantiation to be fully open. But imaging apparently outweighs facts,” says Jolanda Jansen, spokesperson on behalf of the Alliance of Event Builders.

Riemer Rijpkema, spokesperson on behalf of the EventPlatform adds: “We are surprised and disappointed about the choices made by the cabinet. From all the studies of the Fieldlab Events programme and now also from the countless examples from the countries around us, it is clear that events can open safely at full capacity. The 75% limit is unsubstantiated, arbitrary and extremely harmful.”

Indoor events, clubs and venues will also be required to close between 00:00 and 06:00 CET.

The Dutch government today (15 September) has attempted to soften the blow by announcing a €15 million fund to compensate promoters and venues for lost revenue from indoor standing shows.

Ruben Brouwer, director at Mojo, calls the compensation “a blanket for the bleeding”

However, Ruben Brouwer, director at Mojo, calls the compensation “a blanket for the bleeding”.

“Why is 75% good and safe, and 100% not? They don’t explain that. Then you have a bag of money here to make up for the shortages. I think every organiser has to decide what to do next: am I going to organise it or should I cancel it? This is too little, too late.”

Also from 25 September, social distancing will be completely abolished and capacity limits will not apply to outdoor events.

However, the corona pass will be a condition of entry for everyone aged 13 and over who wants to visit an event, festival, theatre, cinema or catering facility.

Attendees at multi-day events will be required to show their corona pass every 24 hours.

The news comes too late for many major festivals such as Lowlands, Mysteryland, DGTL, Down the Rabbit Hole, Awakenings and Paaspop, which were called off earlier this year.

Amsterdam Music Festival, the Netherlands’ largest indoor music festival, was cancelled yesterday (15 September).

 


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.

Dutch gov to ease restrictions as 150,000 protest

Multi-day events and festivals in the Netherlands will likely be able to take place from 25 September under certain conditions.

According to nu.ul, the Dutch government is deciding on the conditions today, ahead of a press conference tomorrow (14 September) evening.

The conditions, which will be based on findings from Fieldlab Evenementen, will likely include a 75% capacity limit.

The cabinet is also considering how Covid certification and testing could aid the sector’s reopening.

“The culture sector is getting better news than has been leaked”

Culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven provided a glimmer of hope during her appearance on the Good Morning Netherlands programme this morning, saying: “The culture sector is getting better news than has been leaked so far. I am hopeful that things will go in the right direction tomorrow, also for the events.”

The news comes after an estimated 150,000 people across ten cities took part in the second Unmute Us protest on Saturday (11 September) to demand the immediate restart of major events.

Saturday’s march was the largest-ever protest in the Netherlands, more than doubling the attendance of the first demonstration on 21 August which drew 70,000.

“This second flawlessly organised demonstration proves once again how strong our industry is in this area”

More than 4,000 organisations joined the movement, including festivals Lowlands, Mysteryland, DGTL, Down the Rabbit Hole, Awakenings and Paaspop – all of which have been cancelled this year due to restrictions.

Ruben Brouwer, director at Mojo, which promotes Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands and Paaspop among others, says: “Our industry consists of professionals who can organise large-scale public events well, neatly and safely.

“This second flawlessly organised demonstration proves once again how strong our industry is in this area. The event industry has proven time and again that it can organise events safely. So there can be no other cabinet decision than full opening on 14 September.”

The protest comes after the Dutch government extended the ban on large-scale events until at least 19 September amid fears over the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

 


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.

Sweden to drop restrictions on live music

The Swedish government today (7 September) announced that it will drop almost all restrictions on live events by 29 September, when the penultimate stage of its roadmap commences.

From that date, capacity limits on indoor and outdoor shows will be removed, along with the requirement for attendees to be seated and socially distanced.

However, for a transitional period, vaccine passports may be required to attend events with more than 15,000 participants, according to culture minister Amanda Lind.

The news was announced during a press conference today, in which the minister of social affairs, Lena Hallengren, reported that 70% of adults in Sweden have received two doses of the vaccine while 80% have received the first injection.

“We are in a new and better situation”

“We are in a new and better situation,” Hallengren said.

The news will come as a relief to event organisers in the country, who had to deal with capacity limits as low as eight people for indoor standing shows.

Since 1 July, indoor standing concerts have been able to take place with a maximum of 50 people, seated indoor concerts with 300 people, standing outdoor concerts with 600, and seated outdoor concerts with 3,000. These restrictions apply until 29 September.

A date for the fifth and final stage – concerning congestion rules for shopping malls, cultural and leisure activities – is yet to be announced.

 


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.

4,000+ organisers register for second ‘Unmute Us’ march

Dutch campaign group Unmute Us has already enlisted the support of 4,000 organisers for its second protest against the government’s restrictions on live events.

The first march took place on 21 August across six Dutch cities with around 2,000 event organisers and 70,000 people in what was the largest demonstration in the Netherlands since 2004.

Recently, the campaign group threatened the government with an even larger demonstration if its questions are left unanswered, since registering twice the amount of organisers than the original march as well as six new cities.

The group met with ministers yesterday evening (2 September) to discuss their eight key questions to the ‘arbitrary, incomprehensible and unjust’ event restrictions but did not come away with any resolutions.

“It is still inexplicable that in countries around us, measures from Fieldlab Events are being used but our sector is shut”

“The ministers have listened to the arguments and indicated that they will take them into account in their decision-making towards the next press conference on 14 September. That’s great, but no commitment and no reason to cancel Unmute Us,” says Jasper Goossen, co-initiator and spokesperson for Unmute Us.

“We detect an enormous willingness to take action, not only among the organisers but also among the public. And we want to reinforce our story and our arguments by taking to the streets en masse. Because it is still inexplicable that in countries around us, measures from Fieldlab Events are being used but that our sector is virtually shut down here.”

Unmute Us will hold the second march on 11 September at 2 pm CEST across eleven cities.

Leiden, Maastricht, Enschede, The Hague and Tilburg have joined the second protest march as new cities, while Groningen, Eindhoven, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are once again taking part. More cities are expected to be announced in the coming period.

The campaign has already drawn support from leading organisers such as Ziggo Dome, Awakenings, Down The Rabbit Hole, DGTL, A State of Trance Festival, Amsterdam Open Air, Best Kept Secret, Defqon, Dekmantel Festival, Lowlands, Mysteryland and Paaspop. More information can be found on the Unmute Us website.

 


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.

Ireland’s live sector reacts to new reopening plan

Live music will return to Ireland for the first time in 18 months under the government’s new phased reopening plan.

In an announcement yesterday (29 August) evening, Taoiseach (prime minister of Ireland) Micheál Martin announced the government’s plan for reopening society over the coming months – including the gradual easing of restrictions on live events.

From 6 September, indoor events and mass gatherings can take place at 60% of a venue’s capacity where all patrons are immune (fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 within the previous six months). At live entertainment events, all attendees must be seated.

For patrons who have mixed immunity status, there will be no change to the current restrictions during September.

“Now, more than ever, we need our government to listen to our voices and support us well into 2022”

Outdoor events and mass gatherings can take place at 75% of a venue’s capacity where all patrons are immune. Where patrons have mixed immunity status, the capacity limit will be 50%, subject to measures including social distancing between groups and face masks.

The next phase of Ireland’s reopening will start on 22 October, when the government will effectively end all restrictions including:

This phase is contingent on Covid-19 cases remaining manageable and 90% of adults being fully vaccinated. Currently, more than 88% of the population over 18 are fully vaccinated, with almost 92% of adults (aged 18 and over) having received at least one dose.

“Imposing a limit of 60% of seated capacity will render most (standing or seated) shows inoperable”

In a statement issued yesterday evening, the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) welcomed the announcement but called for support as live music returns at reduced capacity.

“Our industry will not be fully reopened until we achieve 100% capacity,” it said. “Our industry will still display the scars of the financial hardship and mental health struggles many of us have endured and now, more than ever, we need our government to listen to our voices and support us well into 2022.

“We need that support so we can build our businesses, build our and your confidence, but most importantly, so we can build, upon our rich and proud heritage and culture, an industry that is bigger, brighter, bolder than ever before.”

Shane Dunne, promoter at MCD Concerts; board member of Epic working group; MD of Irish festival Indiependence, echoed the call for support: “It’s important that government financial support like Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) remains in place for those in our industry who have been out of work for over 550 days and that a scaffolding fund is put in place for 2022 to hold the industry upright at least equal to the funding given yearly to the funded sector here.”

“Seventy-five per cent capacity outdoors is workable but we weren’t given the notice on this that we’ve been asking for”

In regards to the capacity limits, Dunne added: “The 60% seated capacity restriction doesn’t work for our business so really we are closed until 22 October when it is planned for restrictions to be lifted. Seventy-five per cent capacity outdoors is workable but it’s a pity we weren’t given the notice on this that we’ve been asking for, for over a year – we’re swiftly running out of summer.”

Fin O’Leary, veteran promoter and co-founder of Singular Artists (a joint venture between DEAG/Kilimanjaro), told IQ: “Any movement on the relaxation of restrictions is welcomed, but imposing a limit of 60% of seated capacity will render most (standing or seated) shows inoperable, so we’re forced to move all pre-October 22 shows into 2022.”

Ireland’s minister for culture, Catherine Martin, says she will continue to lobby the government for sector-specific support.

“I am pleased that the cabinet understands the challenge our performance sector faces. I personally will ensure that this engagement continues.

“Public health is our priority and this phased approach to alleviating restrictions will take time but by continuing to listen to, and work together with, partners from the sector, we will start to repair an industry that has suffered so severely over the last 18 months. While today’s announcement is a milestone in our recovery, the government knows that Ireland’s art and culture sector needs support to help it thrive once more.”

 


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.

Russia’s live music industry on “brink of collapse”

The Association of Concert, Theater and Ticketing Organisations (KTiBO) says Russia’s cultural sector is “on the brink of collapse” due to a lack of support from the government.

In the last year and a half, at least 10,000 events across the country have been postponed and cancelled – causing a 90% drop in revenue – according to the association.

The loss has affected more than 3,000 small and medium-sized businesses including event organisers, private theatres, concert venues and ticket operators.

“The lack of constructive dialogue has led to the fact that today the audience has 5 million tickets worth 8 billion rubles [€92m], and the industry cannot fulfil its obligations under the postponed events and is on the verge of bankruptcy,” warns the association.

“The audience has 5 million tickets worth 8 billion rubles, and the industry cannot fulfil its obligations for postponed events”

KTiBO says it has repeatedly appealed to the federal authorities, but targeted assistance for the industry has been denied.

Now, the association is calling for an open dialogue with the government about the full reopening of the industry.

In the meantime, it is organising a series of events under the banner ‘The concert is over’ to raise awareness about the lack of support.

Tomorrow (26 August), KTiBO – along with representatives from SAV Entertainment, Broadway Moscow theatre company, Russian Show Center, Kassir, Eventation, MSM Group, Artistika, NCA group, Tele-Club Group and more – will host a press conference to discuss the consequences of the pandemic for the industry. More details about ‘The concert is over’ will be revealed then.

 


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.

‘Unmute Us’ threatens Dutch gov with larger protest

Unmute Us, the Dutch event industry campaign group behind Saturday’s mass protest march, has threatened the government with an even larger demonstration if its questions are left unanswered.

The march, which involved around 2,000 event organisers including Lowlands, Mysteryland and Paaspop, saw 70,000 people protest the ‘arbitrary, incomprehensible and unjust’ event restrictions in what was the largest demonstration in the Netherlands since 2004.

Now, the campaign group is threatening to announce “new and larger” demonstrations if the government doesn’t answer the eight questions presented in an open letter.

A number of the eight questions refer to findings from three months’ worth of pilot events in the Netherlands that show the risk of Covid-19 infection, when following certain hygiene and testing protocols, is about the same as being at home.

These pilots were organised by Fieldlab – an initiative of the Dutch government and several trade bodies.

The group asks why the government is ignoring the Fieldlab results while neighbouring country Belgium (which reportedly has the same percentage of vaccinated and infected) is using the report as a basis to organise large festivals.

“Do you realise that with these measures you are ruining the international leading position of the Dutch event industry?”

“What is suddenly wrong with the Fieldlab results while you, through [deputy prime minister] Hugo De Jonge, fully embraced them during the press conference on 28 May?” the group asks.

The letter also asks why are festivals potentially only allowed to open from 20 September, a week before the end of the festival season.

“What arguments do you have for choosing this specific date and not 1 September, the date on which we wish to open?” the group questions. “Do you realise that with these measures you are ruining the international leading position of the Dutch event industry?”

The letter also highlights issues around the government’s coronavirus support for the sector (which is due to end soon), the perceived betrayal of young people (most of whom got vaccinated in order to go to an event, according to the group) and the cabinet’s inconsistent response to communicable diseases.

The group has given the cabinet until next weekend to break recess and answer the eight questions before it takes further action.

“As you have noticed, we are able to mobilise large-scale protests, which, despite their size, remain positive and peaceful. But don’t confuse our peaceableness with complacency. Our patience has run out,” the letter concludes.

 


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.

70,000 take part in ‘Unmute Us’ protest march

Tens of thousands of people took part in the ‘Unmute Us’ protest march in cities across the Netherlands on Saturday (21 August).

The march, spearheaded by the Dutch event industry and attended by festivalgoers, called on the Dutch government to end the ‘arbitrary’ restrictions that have effectively written off the festival summer.

Around 70,000 people attended the marches in Eindhoven, Groningen, Nijmegen, Utrecht, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, including more than 2,000 parties from the Dutch event industry.

Ziggo Dome, Awakenings, Down The Rabbit Hole, Soenda, Apenkooi Events, Vunzige Deuntjes, and Kultlab were among the event companies that hosted floats in their home cities.

The event also drew support from the likes of DGTL, A State of Trance Festival, Amsterdam Open Air, Best Kept Secret, Defqon, Dekmantel Festival, Lowlands, Mysteryland and Paaspop.

The protest marches were reinforced by performances from DJs and artists such as Ryan Marciano, Joris Voorn, Goldband, Bizzey, Sandrien and Joost van Bellen and speeches by Kluun, Tim van Delft (De Staat), Lusanne Bouwmans (D66) and Michiel Veenstra (3FM).

“The fact that an ambitious idea can grow into a real movement in such a short time is typical of our field”

“I had so many goosebumps all day. This is our scene, this is what we live for. Happy people, music and positivity. I only now realise how terribly I missed this,” says Bram Merkx, initiator of Unmute Us.

Jasper Goossen, co-owner of Apenkooi Events (DGTL, Amsterdam Open Air, Elrow Amsterdam), says: “Today we issued the best possible business card. The fact that an ambitious idea can grow into a real movement in such a short time is typical of our field. I am very proud of our entire industry. We now expect a quick response from The Hague.”

The protest comes after the Dutch government banned large-scale events such as festivals until at least 19 September amid fears over the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

One-day events with a maximum of 750 visitors are allowed for people with a Covid-19 app showing they have been vaccinated, have recently tested negative or have recovered from a case in the past six months.

The organisers of Unmute Us want the ban lifted by 1 September, which would still come too late for festivals such as Down the Rabbit Hole (27–29 August), A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise (20–22 August) and Mysteryland (27–29 August).

 


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.

Ireland’s MCD: “We are angry and disappointed”

MCD Productions boss Denis Desmond says the Republic of Ireland’s live sector is “frustrated, disappointed and angry,” by the prolonged shutdown of the industry.

Industry representatives held a two-hour meeting with ROI’s minister for arts yesterday (18 August) but still, no date was set for the return of live concerts and cultural events.

“There are 35,000 people who are employed in the sector who haven’t worked in 525 days and it’s terrible,” Desmond tells IQ. “It’s very hard on people who have families and mortgages to pay. The government support is a small amount of money. A lot of people are struggling – not only financially but mentally.”

In comparison, the UK’s live industry has been fully open for a month and Scotland lifted most restrictions on 9 August.

Festival Republic director Melvin Benn told RTÉ’s News at One that the failure to allow live music events to return, including Electric Picnic (co-promoted with MCD), is “unnecessary and wrong,” given Ireland’s high vaccination rate.

He went on to say that Ireland’s situation contrasted with “political leadership” in other countries, including the UK. “It isn’t a different virus [in Ireland].”

“What we really need is a full reopening and a government-backed insurance scheme, similar to the UK”

The promoters’ comments come after their event, Electric Picnic, was denied a licence by the local council on the grounds of the current restrictions.

“We’re still looking at the options and we have written to the government asking why they made the decision. We’ve been assured that we’ll get an answer by next Monday so we’ll wait until we get a reply to review what happens next,” says Desmond.

The government has also promised a roadmap for reopening by the end of next week but it won’t be a silver bullet for the industry, says the MCD boss.

“What we really need is a full reopening and a government-backed insurance scheme, similar to the UK,” he tells IQ. “The most important thing about the UK’s scheme is that the insurance package is valid for 12 months because Covid is not going away. We’ve got to learn to live with it but there needs to be support for businesses.”

Desmond believes the lack of support for Ireland’s live music industry – and other markets in Europe – is down to a lack of understanding. “The reality is, there is little understanding of the contribution this industry makes to the economy and to the wellbeing of people,” he says.

The Republic of Ireland’s perceived lack of understanding is likely exacerbated by a lack of representation in political spheres. It was recently revealed that minister for arts Catherine Martin – whose plan to reopen the sector was snubbed by government – is not yet on the cabinet committee on Covid-19.

The Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) says the lack of representation is “disastrous” for the industry.

 


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.