The pandemic and lockdown have had major consequences in the Live Performance sector, as venues have been forced to fully close down and tours have been cancelled. This has had a huge impact on the economic stability of the sector as a whole, but also on individual workers, many of whom are freelance and self-employed, and on the large number of small and medium sized enterprises that operate in the sector.
On 13 October 2020, the Live Performance sector in Europe came together to discuss the future and the sustainability of the sector. The European Social Partners in the Live Performance sector – Pearle* (Live Performance Europe, representing employers) and EAEA (FIA, FIM, and UNI MEI) – organised a webinar “Covid 19: Outlook for the Live Performance Sector and Measures Needed” which addressed rescue packages at national and at EU level, the challenges facing the social security system, and back-to-work agreements that ensure the safe re-opening of the sector.
Tania Swayne of Spanish live performance employers association FAETEDA and vice-President of Pearle* said: “The live performance sector is undergoing the worst crisis ever and our cultural diversity is at stake. Without adequate support, many cultural organisations will need to permanently close their doors; qualified workers will leave their profession. Now is the time for governments to include our sector as a priority in their recovery plans and ensure resilience for live performance organisations and workers.”
Through the joint effort of the social partners, activities are slowly restarting around Europe, even though with limitations and adjustments. The future looks uncertain as the pandemic evolves.
At European level short- and long-term recovery packages have been put in place to finance member states’ rescue measures and to protect employment. Current rescue packages at national level do not fully take into account the specific needs of the sector, particularly the financial situation of the numerous freelancers and self-employed workers. This has led many workers into financial hardship, with no proper support from their government.
“Live performance is ailing. Unless policymakers agree to include it in current and future recovery plans, hundreds of thousands of jobs and the sustainability of our sector are at risk. This would be an irreparable loss for Europe, for cultural diversity and ultimately also for artistic freedom,” said Denys Fouqueray, SFA-CGT speaking on behalf of the EAEA.
In her closing speech, Petra Kammerevert, member of the European Parliament Culture Committee underlined the importance of the European culture sector and stressed that the European Parliament considers it fundamental to earmark for the cultural and creative sectors and industries a significant part of the economic recovery measures planned by the European institutions. “Let’s make a new start for culture,” Kammervert concluded.
The time to act is now.
The European Social Partners in the Live Performance sector issued a joint statement and call for a coordinated action plan to secure the recovery and sustainability of the sector. Please see the full statement here.