- 18 Sep 20
In as dramatic statement which will surely resonate throughout Irish society and culture, 600 people, including many major stars, have signed a letter asking for immediate support from the Government
U2, Sinead O'Connor, Hozier, Gavin James, Christy Moore and hundreds of other musicians and event crew have signed a dramatic letter, seeking government support to address the disastrous effect of the Covid-19 restrictions on live entertainment in Ireland.
The letter comes at the end of what has been dubbed National Awareness Week for the Live Entertainment & Event Industry in Ireland (14th - 20th September). The letter calls for a completely different way of looking at the challenges with which the whole area of live music and entertainment has been faced this year. In effect, the industry was brought to a crunching halt, directly as a result of Covid-19.
The letter, issued by the group known as EPIC (Event Production Industry Covid-19 Working Group) is signed by 600 people from across the industry, including hundreds of musicians and bands. The letter is accompanied by the video 'This Is Who We Are’, which is voiced by the spoken word artist and poet, Stephen James Smith. Watch that video below.
"We are unique,” the EPIC letter states, "in that we are the only sector completely closed under government mandate; as a result, through absolutely no fault of their own, live entertainment workers currently have little or no employment opportunities."
The letter is seen as a key part of National Awareness Week for the Live Entertainment & Event Industry in Ireland and follows the Pre-Budget Submission, made by EPIC and presented to the Government on Wednesday 16 September.
Throughout this week, venues across the country have been lighting up in red, as a statement of support for National Awareness Week and the EPIC Pre-Budget submission. Venues taking part include 3Arena, RDS, Aviva Stadium, Croke Park, Bórd Gais Energy Theatre, Gaiety Theatre, Olympia Theatre, Dolan's, Roisin Dubh, INEC, Town Hall Theatre Galway amongst many others around the country.
It is now 190 days since the Live Entertainment and Events Industry was forced to close. The Non-Funded Event Industry – a phrase that distinguishes this part of the live entertainment sector from places like the Abbey Theatre, the Gate Theatre and more – supports over 35,000 jobs, contributes over €3.5 billion Euro to the economy and in excess of 3 million annual bed nights to the wider tourism sector.
For the first time in the Event Industry history, employers, workers and freelancers from viable operations are unable to trade and to work, a spokesperson for EPIC said, adding: "The commercial non-funded sector has never asked for support before, but these are unprecedented times."
The existential threat to the industry is stark.
"We are the creative lifeblood of this country – and a vital part of its economy,” the EPIC letter concludes. "We are the dynamic problem solvers who bring the magic to the most difficult of circumstances. Most importantly, we are contributors; we have always given back. In this unprecedented crisis, reluctantly for the first time we must ask: We need government support for our industry and we need it immediately."
Below is the text of the EPIC letter in full, followed by the complete list of signatories...
An Open Letter from the Live Events and Entertainment Sector
The unprecedented and ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic has been as great a disaster for Ireland’s entertainment and hospitality sectors as the 2007/2008 banking crisis was to its construction and financial services industries.
Across literally hundreds of theatres, venues, clubs, festivals and small/large-scale events, the domestic live events and entertainment industry employs in excess of 35,000 full and part-time workers. The vast majority of these highly skilled people haven’t had any employment since March 12th, 2020. Never in the long history of staging live performances and events on this island has there been such a sudden and total cessation of all work and activity.
We were the first industry to shut, and we will most likely be the last one to fully reopen. The non-funded Events Sector accounts for 90% of the five million tickets sold in Ireland each year, and directly contributes over €3.5billion to the national economy. It is estimated that for every euro spent on a ticket, an additional €6 is spent in the wider tourist economy (including more than three million hotel bed nights per annum).
We are unique in that we are the only sector completely closed under government mandate; as a result, through absolutely no fault of their own, live entertainment workers currently have little or no employment opportunities.
Up until now, we have been totally ignored and received virtually no government aid. As an impossibly bleak winter approaches, we and our dependents desperately require serious government support to survive. The workers at all levels of this vital sector have no prospects of earning a living in the foreseeable future, so the supports need to be appropriate and unprecedented in order to address the dire financial situation facing almost every single person and business. If government support doesn’t come then the curtains will close, joy will be lost, the music will fade, the parades will stop, the children’s giddy laughter at the panto will be no more, and the cherished memories created in muddy festival fields will be a thing of the distant past. The non-funded Live Events Sector faces decimation and at least a decade of recovery if not supported immediately with the following asks:
1 - Immediate reinstatement of the EWSS and PUP payment at €350 per week for the highly skilled staff and businesses of the sector until the sector (which is fully closed by government under public health advice) is allowed to return to work.
2 - Grant funding proportionate to what has been allocated to the Arts Council in 2020. The Live Events Sector accounts for 90% of all tickets sold in Ireland, and as such is a far greater employer and contributor to the national economy. We have received little or no grant funding before, but in these exceptional circumstances it is imperative that a scaffolding fund be made available to support the viable businesses of the sector until we can return to work.
3 - While this Task Force was announced by Minister Catherine Martin on the 10th of September, it is essential that the formation of the members gives due consideration to the Commercial Live Events Sector. This is the sector that manages the largest events in the country, has managed the Papal Visit, The Visit of Barack Obama and The Queen of The United Kingdom. The Commercial Live Events Sector are the experts, the best in class and should receive parity of voice with the state funded sector on the task force.
We are highly skilled professionals, we are essential businesses and services, we are musicians and artists, carpenters and creators, we are stagehands, technicians and experts, we are sounds, lights and visuals, we are tears, laughter and gasps of excitement. We are the Christmas panto, we are concerts, we are festivals, we are food fairs, we are parades, we are conferences, we are exhibitions, we are theatres, we are dance, we are national celebrations & state visits. We are the best nights of your lives.
We are the creative lifeblood of this country - and a vital part of its economy. We are the dynamic problem solvers who bring the magic to the most difficult of circumstances. Most importantly, we are contributors; we have always given back. In this unprecedented crisis, reluctantly for the first time we must ask: We need government support for our industry and we need it immediately.
A. Smyth, Aidan Greene, Ailbhe Reddy, Aimée, Áine Cahill, Alison Spittle, Andrea Corr, Andy Irvine, Aoife Dooley, Aoife Scott, Aslan, Barry Murphy, Bell X1, Billy Scurry, Bleeding Heart Pigeons, Booka Brass Band, Bronagh Gallagher, Chasing Abbey, Christy Moore, Clannad, Colin Murphy, Corrina Lynch, Cry Monster Cry, Daniel O’Donnell, Dara O Briain, Dave Kearney, David Keenan, Davina Devine, Declan O’Rourke, Delorentos, Des Bishop, Diffusion Lab, DJ Karen, Dublin Gospel Choir, EDEN, Elaine Mai , Emma Langford, Eric Lalor, Erica Cody, Eve Belle, Fia Moon, Fiachna O Braonain, Fontaines D.C., Frances Black, Fred Cooke, Gavin James, Gearóid Farrelly, Gemma Doherty, George Feely, Ghostboy, Happyalone, Hozier, Hudson Taylor, Jafaris, Jenny Greene, Jerry Fish, Joanne McNally, Joe Wall, John Gibbons, John Hughes, Just Mustard, JyellowL, Kelly-Anne Byrne, Kevin McGahern, Kodaline, Kojaque, Laoise, Lar Kaye, Leo Moran, Lisa Hannigan, Little Hours, Luka Bloom, Lyra, Malaki, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Mark McCabe, Mary Black, Mary Coughlan, Melodic Dublin, Mike Denver, Mike Scott (of The Waterboys), Mother DJs, Moya Brennan, Neil Delamere, Niamh Farrell, Noel Hogan (The Cranberries), Patrick Scahill, Patrick Sheehy, Paul Brady, Paul Ryder, Phil Bass, Picture This, PowPig, Róisín O, Rory O’Neill (Panti Bliss), RuthAnne, Sinéad O’Connor, Somebody’s Child, Sorcha Richardson, Soulé, Stephanie Rainey, Steve Wall, The Academic, The Blizzards, The Coronas, The Murder Capital, The Riptide Movement, Tommy Fleming, Tommy Tiernan, True Tides, U2, Wyvern Lingo, Ye Vagabonds
1000 Beasts (Cian Sweeney), Aeron, Aidan Thompson, Alex Gough, Allen Anderson, Annie Love, Aoise Butt, ASH / SNKY SESSIONS, Aviary Talent, Bill Mango, Brian Blackwell, Brian Crosby, Brian Masterson, Brian McCarthy, Bríd Lyons, Cailín, Cash X Mack, Cat Irvine, CdotM, Cerillo, Cheylene Murphy from “Beauty Sleep”, Chósta, Chris Coogan, Chris Kent, Christopher Hockey, Cian Fennelly, CMS, Colin Lyons, Colin Morley, COLLIE, Colm Doyle, Conor Brennan, Conor C, D. Cullen, Daisy Mckenzie, Dale Jameson, Dale Nolan, Daniel Healy, Daniel O’Brien, Danny Bichard, Danny Farrell, Darce (Ciarán Darcy), Dark Hallow 94, David O Neill, David P, Davina Devine, Decksta, Declan Mc Clafferty, Deirdre Molloy, Deirdre Young, Dick Fossilman, Dino Cafolla, Dj Dr.Flamer (Elementum V- Eclectrika ), DJ KONNECT, Donal Lucey, Eamonn Conway, Eddie Kay, Eden Isle, ELKIN, Ella Englishby, Elliot, Elliott Mo, Emily 7, Emma Doran, Emmo, Eoin Bailey, Erica Murphy, Faye O’Rourke, Faye Shortt, Fergal Henry, FÍACHRA, Fiachra O Mahony, Fintan McKahey, Fio Fa, Fionn Curran, FRUITZ, Full Funktion, FYNCH, Galactic Beat Club, Gareth Quinn Redmond, Garrett Yeates, Gav K, Gavin Fox, Gavin R. Gallagher, Gerald Ahern, GES, Ghostking is Dead, Glen, Glimmerman, Greyface, Havana Gudtime, Hayley Goldrick, Holly, House Hatcher, IainMoyles, Jack Cleary Fuinneamh, Jack Murphy, Jake Curran, Jake O’Driscoll “God Alone”, James Barber, James Casey, Jamie Carroll, Jamie Cooney, Jamie keane, JaXson, Jay Oglesby, Jenn Hession, Jessie O’Connell, John Fitzgerald, Jonathan Byrne, Jonathan Martin Smyth , Jordan Hearns, Josh Gray, Karl Guest, KAYCEE, Kevin Murtagh, Klye, Laura McCabe, Lee Currid, Lee Moore, Letterbox Kid, LPM, Luis Angel, Luke Reddy, Lydia Ford, M_Con, Marc McLaughlin, Marc-V, Marcus Woods, Mark Colbert, Mark O’Gorman Daly, Martin Angolo, Mary Tiernan, MATHESON, Matt Dundon, Melina Malone, Michael Chang, Michael O D, Mike Hanrahan, Mimi Lane, Mizza, Mode_1, MuRli, MYTH, NANCY Live, Nathan O’Brien, Nialler9, Niamh Brady, Nicholas Clarke, NIMF, Nnic, Noel Sutton, Oisín Egan, Orwells ‘84, Oscar, Owen, Owen Fogarty Pagan, Patterns, Paul Byrne, Paul Darcy, Paul G. Smyth, Paul Jarvis, Paul Ryder, Pauric O’ Meara, Peter, Peter Sweeney, Pierluigi Guarracino, Podge Collins, Pretty Happy, Ray Blackwell, Rebecca Cappuccini, Red Sun Alert, Reece Arrigan, Remedy, Rhythms Of Prescott, Rob de Boer, Rocco Music, Rónán Connolly, Rookie, Rory, Rory De Nógla, Rory McCranor, Royce Laroca, Ruth - Mother, Ryan Roe, Sam Greenwood, Samuel Powell, Saoirse Duane, Sarah Jane Goff, Sarah Lynch, Sarah-Beth O’Mullane, Seamus McDonnell, Sean McKeon, Shampain, Shane Clifford, Shane Daniel Byrne, Shannen Blessing, Shauna McMahon, Shay Whelan, Shiv, Sinéad Wylde, RTÉ lyric fm, SLKTA, Sonny Condell, Sons Of Charlie, SPRINTS, Stephen Dowling, Stephen Lawless, Stephen Mullan, Steve Bennett, Stuart Cremin, The Flavours, Theodora Byrne, Tom Collins, Tony Cantwell, TOYGIRL TV People, Two Many Spoons, Veda Lady, Vibez Emotion, Viv Quinn, Why-Axis, Will Boyle, Yasmin Gardezi, Yurtis Mayfield, Zach Ahern.
115 Cafe & Live Acoustic Venue, 3Arena Dublin, Aiken Promotions, Bedlam Events, Best In Fest, Bingo Loco, Brian Spollen, Caroline Downey, Cyprus Avenue, Declan Forde - Selective Memory, Denis Desmond, Dolans presents, Electric Picnic, Festival Republic, Forever Young, Indiependence, Labyrinth Events, Lantern Presents, Life Festival, MCD Productions, Melvin Benn, Old Oak, Resolution, Sea Sessions, Singular Artists, The Gaiety Theatre, The Grand Social, The Olympia Theatre, Tony Brereton, Una Molloy, Vicar St., Will Rolfe POD Concerts, Winthrop Avenue.
Kim O’Callaghan, Liam Fitzgerald, Michael Young, Murt Whelan, Pearse Doherty, Shane Dunne, Sophie Ridley, Tony Killeen, Association of Irish Festivals & Events (AOIFE), Association of Irish Stage Technicians (AIST), Entertainers Ireland Stand Together (Éist), Event Industry Alliance (EIA), Event Industry Association of Ireland (EIAI), Event Industry Ireland (EII), Event Production, Industry Covid Working Group (EPIC), Irish Inflatables Hirers Federation, Irish Showmans Guild (ISG), Music & Entertainers Association of Ireland (MEAI), Universal Music Ireland, Victor Finn IMRO, Keith Johnson (Irish Music Rights Organisation, IMRO), Pat Creed Warner Music Ireland, Wide Awake Communications.
360 Events, Aaron Kennedy, Acoustik Productions, Adrian Leake, Aidan Keyes, Alan McEvoy, Alan Thornton CAVS, Amir Carmel, Andrea Keogh, Andrew Farrell Freelance A/V Engineer, Andrew Leonard, Andy Smyth, Ange Goliger, Anna Brizay, Anne Kyle, Anne Marie Bowden, Anthony Ferris, Approved Productions, Ashlee Dickinson Ten Feet Tall, Atlantic Audio Ltd, AV Star Systems Ltd., Ballet Ireland, Barry O’Donoghue, Barry Walshe, Beechpark Studios, Bernie Cahill The Sound&Lighting Company, Blackdog music, Blue Moose, Brendan Galvin, Brendan McLoughlin, Brian Barnes, Brian Kelly, Brian Sinnott, Brian Treacy, Buzz O’Neill Maxwell, Caiar Loughney, Caroline Duke, Cathy O’Carroll, Cian McCormack, Ciara Nolan, Ciaran Conroy - Paragon Records, Ciaran Tallon, CIRCUS VEGAS, Clara Sound, Clive Welsh, COH Productions, Colin Hoye, Colm McCabe Promotions & Events, Conor Adams, CS Promotions, CWB, Dan Oggly - Friction PR, Dani Morris, Darren Clarke, Darren Holden, Dave O’Beirne, David Bolger, David Cassidy, David Curley, David ‘Spud’ Murphy, Davin Browne, Deirdra Carroll, Dermot Magennis, Des Mahon Sound, Dickon Whitehead, DMcD, Donna Leonard, Duchess Iredale, Eamonn Fox, Éanna Whelan, Ed Kenehan, Eddie McCourt, Elaine O’Donoghue, Emma Hartfiel, Emma Nicole, Emma Synnott, Eoin Kilkenny, Eoin McCartan, Eric McCarthy Catered Ltd, Event lighting Solutions, Event power, Event Power Ltd., Eventi Management, Fearga O Doherty Stage & Production Manager, Fin O’Leary, Finbar Wright, Finnolan Events, Fiona Brazil, Florin Florea, Fran Hogan Catapult, Garry Gold, Gemma Murray, Gerard Kilkenny, Gerry Brady, gr8 Events Online Ticketing, Grzegorz Rzucidlo, Gwen Bolger, Harley Cummins, Heather Troy-Whelan, Ian Jaco bs, Ian O’Donoghue, Idle hands, Impact Promotions Ireland, Irene Gaia Turina, Irish Rigging Services, J C Campbell, Jack Cleary Fuinneamh, Jack Price, Jack Restan Displays, Jake Ryan, James Jim Fox, Jennifer Quinn, Joe Dougan, Joe Furlong, John Ryan, John Johnston, Jonie Conaty, Karl Casey, Kavanagh’s Bar & Venue, Portlaoise, Kedelec exhibition services ltd , Keith Doyle K9 Detection Services Ireland, Keith Killen, Ken Bolger, Kieran Somers, Kirstin Cunningham KMS Audio & Communications Ltd., Laura Murphy, Lee Moore, Leo McKenna, Leslie McDonogh, Liam FitzGerald, Liane McCarthy Nolan, Lisa Casey, Louise Loughney, Luke Murphy, Madeleine Nesbitt, Madeleine Seiler - The Headline Agency, Margaret O’Regan Event Plan, Marie-Therese Byrne, Mark Galione - Lighting Designer, High Res, Mary Bolger Hinds, Mary Cullen - Irish Rigging Services, Mary Kilduff, Mary Sexton, Masonry PR, Matthew Fox, McDonald AV Ltd, Michael Chang, Michael Wall, Mike McGrath, Mission PR, Morgan Cooke, Muirne Bloomer, Murt Whelan Sound Ltd., Neil Dolan, Niall Mullan, Niall O’Riordan, Niamh Lunny, Noel McHale, Noel Whelan, Noelle Fox - The Olympia Theatre, Nolan Sound & Lighting, Nomadic Productions Ltd., Paddy Freeney, Padraic Boran, Pascal Fischer - Avcom, Pascale Miller, Patrick Trautt, Paul ‘Flex’ Browne, Paul Byrne, Paul Soul Entertainment, Paul Watchorn, Pedro Martins, PERFORM, Peter Jordan, Slua Event Safety, Peter O’Sullivan - Word of Mouth Agency, Philip Alexander, Philip Lawlor, Pip Walsh, Pitched Perfect, Profile Events Ltd., PSI - Production Services Ireland, RayRazor O’Donoghue, RedHouse Productions, RedKen Sound, Remedy, Rhythms Of Prescott, Richard “Lippy” Collins, Richard Tierney, Ríonagh McNamara, Rob Mather Brooklawn Audio, Robert Butler, Robert Smith Events, Ronan Coleman, Ronan Conroy, Roz Long, Ryan Roe, Safents Consulting Ltd, Sandra Murphy, Sarah Jane Shiels Lighting Designer, Sean Harrold, Sequence Events, Session Music Dublin, Shane Murphy, Sheevawn Musical Youth Theatre, Sheil Entertainment Agency, ShowScope Ltd., Simon O’Gorman, Sound to Light Ltd., SoundSound, Stage Lighting Centre, Stephen Curran, Steven Douglas, Streetwise Wedding Band Galway, Stuart Anderson, Stuart Mc Keown, TF Productions Ltd., The Art Room, Therese Maher, Tom O’Connot, Tomás FitzGerald, Tony Burford, Tony Murphy - Avcom, TrenchTown EP, Val Sherlock, WeArePlatinum, Will Boyle, William Ryan, William Softly