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Support package worth millions for live gigs and music industry to form part of Budget

Live music venues, big and small, will be able to apply for a minimum of €10,000 under the scheme,

The scheme aims to de-risk the costs of preparing for new productions.
The scheme aims to de-risk the costs of preparing for new productions.
Image: Shutterstock/justsolove

A SUPPORT PACKAGE worth ‘tens of millions’ of Euro to help live music performances get up and running again will be announced as part of Budget 2021.

Live music venues, big and small, will be able to apply for a minimum of €10,000 under the scheme, according to government sources. 

It is envisaged the money will go some way in helping venues such as or similar to Whelans in Dublin, the Róisín Dubh in Galway to larger venues such as the Gleneagle in Kerry and even the 3 Arena open their doors again for live music performances. 

While the overall sum of money for the fund, as well as cap on the amount of money applicants can apply for is yet unknown, it is understood it will be many multiples of the original €5 million made available during the summer.

Under the scheme as it stands, applicants can apply to a maximum of €800,000 on a matched funding basis which can be used to fund a percentage of eligible costs, though this might be modified for the Budget.

The expansion of the Live Performance Support Scheme, which aims to assist commercial venues, producers and promoters of live performances provide employment to workers in the creative industries, is due to hundreds of applications being received for the first round of funding.

The scheme aims 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.

Due to the curtailment of the numbers allowed to attend events duee t, it ensures venues and performers can make a living from such events.

However, the main objective of the scheme is to provide employment opportunities for workers in the live event sector.

The seed funding hopes to give commercial organisers of live performances, who have effectively been closed since March, commence preparations for productions that could get the go ahead in the near future.

Applicants to the fund must meet certain criteria, such as informing the Department of Culture, Arts, Media, Tourism, Sport and the Gaeltacht about the number of employees they hope to hire with the money. 

They should also have a track record in the industry. 

The events being funded will also have to comply with public health protection measures, and can only be held during Level 1 and 2 of the government’s Living with Covid-19 roadmap, which sets out that indoor events can have between 50 and 100 people in attendance.

Arts Minister Catherine Martin has previously stated that she is very aware of the impacts the restrictions have had on those working in the arts and entertainment business.

Last month, she established an Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce, and has engaged with the Events Production Industry COVID-19 Working Group (EPIC) which has called for significant supports for the sector.

Government sources state that this funding hopes to allow those in the industry go ahead and organise events by providing a safety net that their costs can be covered if the event has to be cancelled. 

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They added that it will allow venues open their doors again, provide funding for wages, and finally allow members of the public attend live gigs and entertainment events, even if numbers are curtailed due to restrictions.

While larger professional venues will be able to avail of the funding, so too will smaller operations such as schools and colleges that are also planning to hold a live event. It will also be open to dance and drama schools, as well as musical and drama societies.

It is hoped that the millions of Euro in funding will allow venues to hold a number of events with the backing of the state subsidy, with an aim of keeping the entertainment industry alive during these difficult times.

Music support

A further support package, the Music Stimulus Package, which involves three funding schemes designed to help sustain the popular and commercial music sector across all music genres, is also to be expanded.

The original fund of €1 million is to be increased substantially and is targeted at professional musicians and their teams and will support song writing camps, recording and album releases, according to the Department.

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-19 restrictions.

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