- 24 Sep 20
“Our members are not unemployed but forced not to be employed as a result of COVID-19 guidelines. The Music & Entertainment sector by its very nature relies on audiences and social crowds and settings.”
Musicians and entertainers are appealing once more for government help during the coronavirus crisis. Five per cent of Arts Council funding should go into a new Hardship Fund to help people working in the live entertainment industry, whose livelihoods have been devastated because of COVID-19 restrictions on concerts and music events, a statement says.
That, along with reinstatement of the full PUP payment, reduced VAT and guarantees on payment breaks for mortgages and bank loans, is part of a Pre-Budget Submission to Government made by the Music & Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI).
MEAI was established in June and represents nearly 5,000 people working in live entertainment, from musicians to sound engineers, from booking agents to DJs and others.
“Since the 12th March 2020, the Music & Entertainment sector has been in lockdown. Overnight, diaries were wiped out, upcoming engagements cancelled, and with no roadmap or end in sight, the sector is still in the same lockdown since that date,” the submission states.
According to MEAI, almost 70 per cent of members depend on the music and entertainment sector for their income, and 11.5 per cent have utility bills in arrears.
One in ten of members are now having to sell essential equipment to cover household expenses, and 17.4 per cent are dealing with mental health worries as a result of financial stress.
The MEAI Pre-Budget Submission is asking the Government for EWSS at €410 per week until the industry reopens without social distancing.
They also request the creation of a Survival Package and Scaffolding support structure for self-employed individuals and businesses until our industry reopens without social distancing, as well as a Hardship Fund created jointly by Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Department of Arts & Culture and the Arts Council, funded by 5 per cent of the Arts Council's overall budget.
Additionally, MEAI want the over 66 age group still working prior to the virus to avail of the same support structures as the rest of the sector along with a broadening of the criteria to ensure the commercial live music sector can avail of Arts Council funding.
The group is also calling for the extension of the current Taskforce created by the Minister for Arts to examine current practises and develop an inclusive strategy of the funded and commercial arts sectors.
MEAI is also seeking a reduced VAT rate of 9 per cent for the music and entertainment sector, examination of high vehicle insurance costs and a review of the criteria for Arts Council funding.