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The German Government Has Granted Live Music Venues €150 Million


Small music venues in America have been left to fight for scraps after being some of the businesses hardest hit by the coronavirus shutdown. The U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program provided some lifeline to many of them, but those funds are only designed to cover two months’ worth of payroll, and it’s going to be way longer before it’s safe for those venues to reopen, let alone operate profitably with all the restriction that will need to be put in place. While one newly-formed organization, the National Independent Venue Association, is doing its best to lobby the U.S. government for funding, it’s no surprise that the German government, already leaders in handling the pandemic, have been much more proactive, granting live music venues and promoters €150 million (roughly $167 million USD).

The €150 comes out of the €1 billion recovery fund titled Neustart Kultur (“Restart Culture”) that is solely dedicated to helping support the arts during this difficult time. Monika Grütters, the federal culture minister of Germany, commented:

“We want to save our unique cultural sector and give perspective to artists. With Neustart Kultur and in combination with other multi-billion-euro recovery funds of the federal government, we’re making a contribution that is internationally unparalleled.”

Live music events will be very different from what we know when they finally return. A recent Wall Street Journal report that spoke with major concert promoters indicated that there will be hand sanitizer everywhere you look, patrons wearing masks, temperature checks, social distancing “fan pods,” and venues sold at a fraction of their capacity, with big artists playing smaller rooms.

Another report in The New York Times quotes higher-ups at a number of different live events companies as saying they’ve all but given up on 2020, instead looking towards winter 2021 and beyond as targets to start opening up their businesses again:

“The country’s biggest stages have yet to declare their plans, but they are rapidly reaching a consensus on a go-slow approach, even if they receive government permission to reopen. At their scale, it is even more difficult to protect patrons when seats are tightly packed and there are choke points at entrances, lobbies, aisles, concession stands and restrooms. Backstage quarters are typically cramped, and productions often involve intimate onstage action and aerosolized respiratory droplets.”

Live Nation president Joe Berchtold said the country’s largest concert promotion company is waiting for word on a vaccine and an expansion of testing capabilities to decide what to do, offering a play-it-by-ear plan instead of any kind of timeline:

“While we think that phenomenal strides are being made in both cases, given the lead time involved in planning major concert tours, and the uncertainties that exist today, we don’t expect a large volume of major tours in the fall.”

[WeRaveYou via Metal Injection]

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