Ireland Launches Support Scheme For Live Events Sector

15th Mar, 2021

The Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin TD, announced last week a new €50m suite of measures to support the commercial live performance sector to assist producers, promoters, venues and musicians.

Minister Martin said: "I am very pleased to announce the commencement of these schemes which will help support Ireland’s entertainment industry so they can weather the storm of ongoing closures due to the crisis. This range of measures will assist commercial venues, producers and promoters to do what they do best – make work for audiences - and provide a valuable asset to our society missing culture and entertainment. In addition, the new measures support the indispensable bed rock of our music industry assisting businesses, performers, musicians and crew. I look forward to the roll out of these support schemes which will provide a much needed and vital support for the live performance sector."

Included in the suite is a significantly enhanced Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS); a new support for sole traders and music businesses to pay fixed costs; a new capital fund to install recording facilities for live streaming; and a new local performance scheme this summer for villages and town centres.

Following exceptional demand for the pilot LPSS in 2020, a fund of €25m will now be made available for 2021. The scheme will provide significant job opportunities in the live performance sector. It will support the continued production of high quality artistic output, as was demonstrated during the pilot phase of the Live Performance Support Scheme, which recently provided thousands of days of employment to hundreds of musicians, actors, crew and technicians when no other opportunities were available.

Building on those successful outcomes, the department has gained valuable insights and applied these in the new scheme where appropriate. The objective now is to support employment and wellbeing opportunities in the live performance sector across all genres and continued high quality artistic output for the general public.

Key features of the Live Performance Support Scheme include:

  • support live performances that will occur on or before 30 September 2021
  • support the creation of employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries and the generation of high quality artistic output
  • scheme is aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters in the culture sector (for example: music, entertainment and theatre)
  • awards will range from €10k upwards

The Live Performance Support Scheme 2021 will be open for applications from Friday 19 March until Wednesday 14 April. Learn more about the scheme.

As a further support measure for those in the live music entertainment industry, the Minister is announcing funding of up to €14m for a new scheme to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 and that do not qualify for other business supports.

The main features of this new Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS) will see support offered by way of two levels of flat payments:

  • €2,500 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €20,000 - €100,000
  • €5,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000

Self-employed businesses whether sole traders, partnerships and incorporated entities operating exclusively within the commercial live entertainment sector are eligible to apply. The scheme is expected to open next month.

€5m will be allocated to local authorities to facilitate programming of outdoor live performances in summer 2021 animating town centres for local communities, should public health considerations permit. The department will develop guidance to mitigate the risk of congregation. It will allow for the procurement by local authorities of performances by local performers. Performances can be recorded or streamed if health restrictions prevent live events. Local authorities will be encouraged to engage events companies to develop and deliver a programme of performances.

A separate €5m will be available for a scheme of capital supports for the commercial live entertainment sector. This will be applied to supporting the installation of high quality recording and streaming facilities in venues through a competitive grant application process.

Lastly, as previously announced, up to €1 million has been allocated for the St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 to support the employment of performers, producers, artists, technicians, creatives and support staff. With gatherings still restricted, SPF 2021 has curated a rich and dynamic programme of events involving hundreds of artists, musicians, performers, creators, and community organisations that will be broadcast on the St. Patrick’s Festival TV online channel over six days and nights, marking the national day.

In addition, the Minister announced today that she is establishing the Return to Live Entertainment Working Group to develop overarching COVID-19 sectoral guidance for the live entertainment sector. The membership of the Working Group would include stakeholders with appropriate technical knowledge in the planning, management and delivery of events who will be charged with ensuring that the necessary guidance will be in place to facilitate the reopening of the sector when it safe to do so. The establishment of this group addresses a recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce.

The department will have regard to the recommendations of the Night-time Economy Taskforce within the implementation and rollout of the measures.

Minister Martin ended by saying: "I want to see the safe return to live music and entertainment as soon as public health restrictions allow. The schemes announced today will see the sector supported in the months ahead and return to work, albeit in a limited capacity. The Live Entertainment industry has extensive expertise in developing health and safety protocols and, following two successful test pilot events in 2020, I now intend to establish a consultative stakeholder forum that will help solidify the guidance for reopening and returning to live performance."

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