Celebrating Cultures, Promoting Integration
On 9 March, the Irish government announced that the live entertainment industry would receive €50m financial support to survive this critical period of the coronavirus crisis. The Live Performance Support Scheme (LPSS) is meant to provide help to sole traders and music businesses to pay fixed costs. It also provides a capital fund to install recording facilities for live-streaming, and a local performance scheme this summer for town centres and villages in the rural regions of Ireland. This whole project is a response to the high level of popular demand received in 2020, the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports, and Media added.
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What would this mean to live performances?
The scheme is meant to support live performances that are supposed to be held on or before 30 September, and to boost employment and wellbeing opportunities within the culture sector. The scheme would primarily provide support to commercial music venues, producers, and promoters in the culture sector. In addition to this, supports would be available to those who qualify, ranging from €10,000 upwards.
I think this move from the Irish government was inevitable and is to be welcomed. It could mean financial aid to people like sound engineers, light technicians, and the bar staff of music venues. Even artists and music producers may receive aid via the scheme, which I find great. It’s important to mention that applications should be submitted before 14 April to be considered for LPSS support.
Further Moves to Protect Music Businesses
The Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme, with a budget of €14m, is there to help businesses that do not qualify for LPSS support. According to Sarah Burns:
‘The Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme will receive support 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.’
This would make self-employed businesses eligible to apply, whether they are sole traders, partnerships, or incorporated entities. The major requirement is that they must operate mainly within the commercial live entertainment sector. The scheme is expected to open next month. Another €5 million will be given to local authorities to make them capable of facilitating and programming outdoor live performances this summer for local communities. That means music festivals and artistic events may receive financial support as well. A further €5 million has been made available to support the commercial live entertainment sector in Dublin.
I think the Irish government is making significant efforts to aid the culture sector with this move and it is to be welcomed. Of course, the main focus is on aiding the healthcare and education systems, yet it’s great to see that other people, employees of other industries also get a chance to receive support during this awful coronavirus crisis. The importance of music and the arts cannot be ruled out or ignored. The culture sector also provides comfort, sometimes a remedy for society’s mental health problems. This is especially true during these tough times. Without a vibrant culture, we are more vulnerable and more fragile, so cultural activities and businesses must be endorsed and supported. Despite the Covid-19 crisis, I feel positive. I think we will be able to attend live music gigs and check out performances very soon. We only need to hold on a little longer, sunrise always comes sooner than we think.