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German government kicks off Restart Culture funding programme

The German federal government has gone live with its Restart Culture funding programme, with €80m initially going to concert and festival organisers.

The funds are part of the government’s €1bn economic stimulus package, of which €150m is earmarked for help with the restart of music following the live events blackout due to COVID-19.

The German music industry has called it another “important factor” in the preservation of the diversity of the German music offering, which has been threatened by the ban on events in place since March.

Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), said: “While the funding programme is far from being sufficient to fill the financial holes that the organisers have incurred in the last six months and which unfortunately will only increase in the coming months, it will at least ensure a certain basic guarantee of the industry’s ongoing attempts to get back to normal.”

The programme provides costs for events from October 2020 to the end of August 2021 for music organisers from between €75,000 to €800,000. Festival organisers can receive up to €250,000, and the maximum amount is based on the average number of events and visitors between 2017 and 2019, as well as the average turnover from cultural events in Germany.

The applications will be processed by Initiative Musik, whose website is also used to submit applications, which will be processed immediately upon receipt. The Initiative Musik has hired eight additional employees to process applications.

The programme starts on September 7, and Michow recommends that organisers familiarise themselves with the programme and prepare the necessary documents by then.

The announcement follows the promoters’ association’s call to implement a €3.75bn bridging programme for the events industry from September.

BDKV also called for an aid program of around €582m in April for the music industry until the end of September, of which around €410m was earmarked for the event industry most affected by the crisis.

Michow said he is “disappointed” by the lack of support for artist mediators in the funding program.

He said: “I find that more than regrettable, because after all, the artist intermediaries were specifically mentioned as recipients of help in the Culture Restart programme.”

He has now turned to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and there requested support from the intermediaries. “I will not give up before this branch of the economy, which is so important for the cultural sector, receives adequate support for the new start.”