Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition release statement on venue support program


The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and the Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) issued a joint statement on what they describe as “stealth lockdown” and how it affects employees and artists in the live music industry.

It comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak presented a £ 1 billion support plan for businesses affected by COVID-19 earlier today (December 21).

Annabella Coldrick, Managing Director of the Music Managers Forum and David Martin, CEO of the Featured Artists Coalition said in a joint statement that they were still “overwhelmingly concerned” that the new measures still had “nothing for artists. and professionals in the entertainment industry “who are being affected by what he describes as a” stealth lockdown “.

They said: “Artists currently find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place – encouraged by the government to continue performing, while their audiences are invited to stay at home.

“With months of uncertainty to come, this stealth lockdown puts their already fragile businesses at risk. All of this is compounded by the lack of a safety net and insurance plans that the industry has universally ridiculed as inadequate. .

“While the package announced today may help some venues and institutions, it is essential that it is also made available to those who appear on stage or work behind.

“Without this concrete support, such as compensation for COVID-related cancellations and viable insurance solutions, we risk artists and tens of thousands of support workers becoming collateral damage in what looks like a disaster.” In progress. “

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak outside 11 Downing Street on September 24, 2020 in London, England. Credit: Leon Neal / Getty Images

Music Venue Trust also released a statement following the announcement of the package, calling it “a woefully inadequate response to the reality of the post.”

The package included one-time grants of £ 6,000, the reintroduction of the sickness benefit reimbursement scheme and an additional £ 30million for the previously announced Cultural Revival Fund.

“We welcome any announcement from the Treasury which recognizes the very serious situation facing local concert halls and other cultural and hotel spaces, operators and staff,” the statement from the Music Venue Trust begins.

“Unfortunately, today’s announcement appears to be a woefully inadequate response to the reality of the position.”

Speaking of the £ 6,000 grants to support all sites that may meet the criteria, MVT said: “This amount is intended to mitigate losses for an as yet unknown period in which business has not only plummeted, it has completely collapsed.

“Regardless of any restrictions or limitations on the business that haven’t yet been announced, the business has already collapsed for at least 6 weeks – you can’t turn the live music industry on and off like a desk lamp, tours / events are canceled. Not just today, or tomorrow, for the next 3 months “

A recent report found that up to 40% of music fans in the UK have not made it to concerts recently due to an increase in COVID cases, while one in five ticket holders do. is not presented at concerts in 2021.

Dave Keighley, president of the Production Services Association which represents companies and individuals involved in the live event production industry, said NME that “almost 90% of planning for New Year’s events has been postponed because people don’t want to spend their time doing that and then find out we’re in another lockdown in January.”

The Music Venue Trust statement went on to call the additional £ 30million support to the Cultural Recovery Fund “weirdly out of touch with reality.” It is certainly quite insufficient to cope with the magnitude of the problem.

“We note that popular concert halls, designated by the government for specific restrictions since the start of the crisis, are not even mentioned in today’s press release which once again focuses on ‘theaters, orchestras and museums “which will be supported” until March. 2022 ‘.

MVT went on to say that the Department of Digital Culture, Media and Sports already had “all the evidence it needed for losses in the core concert hall sector alone to reach £ 22million. sterling by the end of January, let alone the end of March 2022.

Talk to NME Earlier this year MVT CEO Mark Davyd said “the grassroots concert hall industry is in debt over £ 90million. The average debt they emerge with is around £ 80,000 to £ 120,000 per site – some are much more in debt than that. “

“The damage is already done and there is no point in pretending otherwise. Today’s Treasury statement is not the necessary response, ”MVT said.

The MVT then asked the Secretary of State for Culture to “meet with the sector, fully understand the extent of the damage inflicted and return to the Treasury with a financial request that reflects what is required”.


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