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German live industry urges increased financial support

German promoters’ association BDKV and other industry professionals have called on the government for comprehensive financial support to prevent the “total collapse” of the live events industry.

The group is urging the government to aid organisations to cover their fixed costs as well as the variable costs until they are able to fully reopen.

Dieter Semmelmann, managing director of one of the largest German event companies and organiser of the seven new open air concerts that take place in the Waldbühne Berlin venue, bemoaned having to adhere to distancing rules until the end of the year, which he said excludes any economic sense of an event from the start.

For his events in the 22,000-seat Waldbühne, Semmelmann can welcome 5,000 visitors per concert and has to implement strict hygiene regulations.

He said: “Of course, we respect all measures required to protect against corona infections. But if they make it necessary that events can only continue to be carried out under such restricted conditions, our branch of industry will only survive if we are given extensive financial aid quickly.

“Together with the artists, we decided to do something better than nothing. But in the end we can only hope that the events will cover the costs. In any case, money cannot be earned under the given conditions.”

Jens Michow, president of BDKV, said that the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis in the event sector that had been feared months ago are increasingly being realised.

He added that as restrictions are extended, many events companies will not survive economically to the end of the year.

Michow said: “The association is therefore calling for comprehensive financial support at least in the amount of the company’s fixed costs as well as the variable costs until it is fully reopened. This is the only way to prevent the total collapse of the industry and enable a re-entry in the coming year.

“Neither the bridging aid nor the considerable funding program that has just been negotiated with the Commissioner for Culture and Media are suitable for filling the holes that have arisen so far and will continue to arise.

“Although the funding avoids future event losses, it does not serve to secure at least a modest profit for the organisers, especially since this cannot be earned at concerts with distance rules.

“The industry is therefore demanding a binding auxiliary scenario for the future in the interests of maintaining German live culture.”

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