Government announces €50m live entertainment support plan

Measures include scheme for sole traders and businesses and local performance fund

The scheme will support live performances that will occur on or before September 30th, 2021, and the creation of ‘employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries’. File photograph: iStock

The scheme will support live performances that will occur on or before September 30th, 2021, and the creation of ‘employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries’. File photograph: iStock

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Details of a €50 million suite of measures to support the live entertainment industry was announced by the Government on Tuesday.

The measures include an “enhanced” Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS), a new support for sole traders and music businesses to pay fixed costs, a capital fund to install recording facilities for live-streaming, and a local performance scheme this summer for villages and town centres.

Following “exceptional demand” for the pilot LPSS last year, a fund of €25 million will now be made available for 2021, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media said.

The scheme will support live performances that will occur on or before September 30th, 2021, and the creation of “employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries and the generation of high-quality artistic output”.

The scheme is aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters in the culture sector and awards will range from €10,000 upwards. It will open for applications from March 19th until April 14th.

Business overheads

Meanwhile, funding of up to €14 million for a new scheme to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses that have been “significantly negatively affected” by the pandemic and that do not qualify for other business supports was announced.

The Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme 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 and, €5,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000.

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

Local authorities will be allocated €5 million to facilitate programming of outdoor live performances this summer for local communities, “should public health considerations permit”. The Department said it will develop guidance to mitigate the risk of congregation and that performances can be recorded or streamed if health restrictions prevent live events.

A separate €5 million has been made available for a scheme of capital supports for the commercial live entertainment sector, to assist the installation of high-quality recording and streaming facilities in venues through a “competitive grant application process”.

St Patrick’s Festival

In addition, up to €1 million has been allocated for the 2021 St Patrick’s Festival, to support the employment of performers, producers and support staff. With gatherings still restricted, the festival has organised a programme of events involving hundreds of artists, musicians and community organisations, which will be broadcast online in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day.

The establishment of a Return to Live Entertainment Working Group to develop Covid-19 sectoral guidance for the live entertainment sector was also announced.

Minister for Arts and Culture Catherine Martin said the schemes will help support the country’s entertainment industry “so they can weather the storm of ongoing closures due to the crisis”.

Ms Martin also said she wants 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,” she said.

“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.”