Carry On Touring – Real People, Real Lives, Real Jobs
Opinion – Tim Brennan – Freelancer Video Director / Engineer
It’s been a busy week, lots of discussions with industry insiders. Culminating with a chat about our dire need for Festival Support. We need a government backed insurance scheme or the summer festival season we not happen.
With the budget getting ever closer there are major issues that need addressing if the live entertainment industry is to get back to anything like normal.
At present, with restrictions provisionally being lifted on 21st June promoters, agents and managers are faced with a dilemma. Do they trust that this will in fact happen or is there a chance that the door will once again slam shut?
Whilst this uncertainty exists, these people are loathe to commit any of their remaining funds putting the necessary infrastructure in place for an event to happen.
The Industry is on its knees and to recover it will need help from the Government. Event organisers need to know, that before they commit to any expenses, there is a safety net to reimburse them if they have to cancel due to re-emergence of Covid restrictions. Without this, it is insanity to run a risk that would, in all likelihood, be the end of your business and would accrue debts you couldn’t possibly repay. Therefore, the promoters and agents we have spoken to, are not willing to take this gamble and who can blame them.
Without these people there won’t be a ‘festival season’ at all this year in any way shape or form and without festivals the music industry is done, it cannot survive another year.
Whilst it’s great news that Reading and Leeds are going ahead, there are literally dozens of smaller festivals that aren’t. Reading is a huge festival and is backed by a company that has been able to weather the financial storm. The smaller festivals do not have this.
In normal times insurance is available to cover cancellation so the risk is negated somewhat, these are not normal times. There needs to be some sort of government scheme in place, to underwrite the financial liabilities that will be accrued if C-19 forces these events to be called off.
Whilst we realise that there will be those who think, (incorrectly) that the government has put enough money into the sector, that money isn’t reaching those that need it most, and when you consider that we were the first industry to be shut down and will be the last to be reopened the amounts are not that significant, and have been far surpassed by some of our EU neighbours.
The costs of this safety net will be tiny compared to the alternatives.
If ‘Festival season’ doesn’t happen this year, then those people who have managed to hold on and the businesses involved who are banking on rebuilding this year will go under.
This will throw hundreds of thousands of people onto the benefits system and onto the already desperate job market.
It will remove job and career options from the next generation of crew, musicians and supply industries. You remove the financial aid provided to the thousands of part time staff employed at events and you lose yet another industry to the country. An industry that is respected worldwide.
The lack of foreign travel has already lost the country millions of pounds of revenue in tourism. The hospitality industry will therefore be hoping to be able to recoup some money with Brits travelling over the summer. Festivals are a major part of this.
In addition to this, the press needs to act responsibly. We need to reassure the public that it is safe to travel, that it is safe to be in groups. We don’t need the scare headlines; we don’t need the doubts putting into people’s minds.
This is not a hypothetical scenario; this is what is happening now. Without action we will have to accept the fact that live music as we know it, will be a memory that only exists on screen and via live stream. We need the government to live up to its promises and,
A, Stand by your schedule and not continually push us back
B, Stand by your rhetoric of, “supporting the arts in all its forms” by supplying event insurance as other European countries do.
C, Not throw us all on the scrap heap.
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