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Music / April 30, 2021

MEAI and NCFA ask government for clarity on return of live events

Photo by Nainoa Shizuru on Unsplash
Music / April 30, 2021

MEAI and NCFA ask government for clarity on return of live events

Words: Dylan Murphy

“We have no roadmap. No indication when ‘normal’ business can or could resume.”

In the last 24 hours, the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) and the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) have released statements asking the government for clarity surrounding re-opening dates for the music and live entertainment sector.

Yesterday, the government revealed new plans for the easing of restrictions over the next three months, however, there were no mention of any sort of road map for the return of live music in Ireland.

Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin TD said the department “will prepare proposals on the holding of a limited number of pilot large events for sport and music, including both indoor and outdoor” and later said her department would work on a “phased approach to reopening small music venues”.

However, with no dates or further information the music and live entertainment industry has been left in the lurch.

In a statement, the MEAI said:

“While we welcome the phased re-opening which will see many sectors return to work, we are now 414 days without employment and that looks like continuing for some time to come.”

“We were the first to close and it looks like we will be the last to re-open”, Mr Matt McGranaghan, spokesman for the Association stated.

“We have no roadmap. No indication when ‘normal’ business can or could resume. And if the past is an indication of how we might expect the future to look, then we are looking at a reopening strategy with no provision or consideration for our sector, accompanied with a draconian cut to the single, sole, only support to workers in this sector upon which they are wholly dependent and reliant.”

“Our biggest fear is that Government will cut the PUP once more in July without creating any provision for live music and entertainment to happen in pubs, hotels, weddings and other social occasions from where the majority of performers make their living,” said Mr McGranaghan.

He added: “Workers want nothing more than to get back working and gigging and to do so in a safe and responsible manner, but unfortunately trials have not been conducted yet to show how this could be done and so our sector is excluded from guidelines.”

MEAI welcomed Arts Minister Catherine Martin’s announcement that her Department is planning to trial live performances and events and follow other countries who have completed successful experiments for this sector.

Meanwhile the National Campaign for the Arts sought further clarity in their statement, released today. Read it below:

The National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA) commends Minister Catherine Martin and her Government colleagues for their genuine and tangible efforts to support the arts, cultural and live entertainment sector in reopening.

NCFA warmly welcomes the reopening of museums, galleries and outdoor cultural attractions from May 10th. We are delighted and relieved for the arts, culture and entertainment workers who can get back to work, for the ancillary businesses and suppliers that service them, and of course for the public who will be able to return to these places of artistic and cultural joy. 

NCFA is delighted to see intercounty travel re-instated, which will allow artists and arts workers to travel to present their work, and audiences to travel to enjoy this work.

Outdoor events, limited to 15, is a welcome first step in the journey towards the recommencement of live events. It is heartening to hear Minister Martin’s commitment to the trialling of large scale outdoor events in the near future, as well as the reopening of theatres, cinemas and music venues.

NCFA asks the Minister to clarify the following for the arts, culture and live entertainment communities:

  • Are artists and arts workers now permitted to return to their places of work (rehearsal rooms, studios, workspaces, etc.) to create, rehearse and prepare their work, so it will be ready for presentation to audiences when venues reopen?
  • While the arts, and many other sectors, cannot fully return to work, will there be continued financial supports through the PUP and EWSS? If so, will the PUP and EWSS remain at the current rate?
  • When will specific details of the reopening of theatres and cinemas in June be announced?
  • When will details of large indoor and outdoor pilot events be announced?
  • When will plans for reopening indoor music venues be announced?

Elsewhere on District: We hear from Dublin businesses preparing to reopen on May 10.