I recently met with the Events Industry Alliance (EIA) which is composed of the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland, the Event Production Industry COVID19 working group (EPIC), the Association of Irish Festival Events, the Association of Irish Stage Technicians, the Event Industry Association of Ireland as well as the Event Industry Ireland (EII), Irish Showman’s Guild (ISG), Entertainer’s Ireland Stand Together (EIST) and Irish Inflatables Hirers Federation (IIHF) groupings.
At this meeting, I heard first hand the concerns of the events industry which includes the commercial live music performance sector. I am eager to get our musicians, our performers and all their behind-the-scenes technical support people back to earning a living and doing what they do so well.
In announcing members of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, I have included representation from the Events Industry Alliance. The Taskforce will prepare a report including a set of recommendations on how best the arts and culture sector can adapt and recover from the unprecedented damage arising from the Covid-19 pandemic. I look forward to receiving the Taskforce report in due course.
I am also very conscious of the unprecedented nature of the challenge facing live performance promoters and producers, not least from a financial point of view. I was pleased to have recently announced a new fund that will assist established commercial venues and promoters to employ performers, artists, technicians, creative and performance support staff up to the end of 2020 in anticipation of the return of audiences to live performance.
An allocation of €5 million is being made available under the “Live Performance Support Scheme” under my Department which aims to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters of live performances and provide employment to workers in the creative industries. The scheme will help to de-risk the costs of preparing for new productions which may subsequently have to be postponed, cancelled or curtailed due to restrictions to safeguard public health. The main objective of the scheme is to provide employment opportunities in the ticketed performance sector and allow commercial organisers of live performances to commence preparations immediately and productions to go ahead in the near future while also complying with public health protection measures. This scheme has been developed following consultation with the sector and will be managed directly by my Department. This scheme is open to applications until 1pm on the 25th September and I hope to announce the recipients of this funding in the coming weeks.
A further support package, the Music Stimulus Package, involves three funding schemes designed to help sustain the popular and commercial music sector across all music genres, including rock, pop, hip hop, indie, jazz, country and western and traditional and folk. Under this package, a fund of €1,000,000 is being put in place to stimulate areas of work which artists would usually fund with income from own sources including live event fees.
The music support schemes are targeted at professional musicians and their teams and will support song writing camps, recording and album releases. The aim is to ensure that Irish musicians, engineers, PR, media, agents, labels and publishers can continue to develop and share their work in the context of COVID restrictions. The Music Stimulus Package schemes will be managed on behalf of the Department by First Music Contact and will be subject to peer panel assessment.