The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Income Loss - Three quarters of creative freelancers or organisations working in areas dependent on live audiences have seen their income drop by more than half since the pandemic began, new figures from the Creative Industries Federation have revealed. Failure to ease the hardship being faced by many in the sector could result in “crippling inequalities” in future, and consequences that stretch beyond the creative industries, the federation warns.
According to its newly released statistics, creative freelancers were experienced the biggest drop in revenue, and are 20% more likely than organisations to have seen a reduction in income of three quarters or more since the beginning of the pandemic.
Following the findings, the Creative Industries Federation is calling on the government to take urgent support measures for the sector in the forthcoming Spring Budget. These include expansion of creative industries tax reliefs, a government-backed insurance scheme for live events and an extension of income support measures, including for those who fall through the gaps of current schemes. The survey of 805 creative organisations and practitioners across the UK was carried out from December 3, 2020 to February 7.
Visa Crisis - Scottish culture secretary Fiona Hyslop has added her voice to growing calls for the UK government to negotiate visa-free access for artists and other creative professionals touring to the EU post-Brexit. Hyslop has written to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, requesting an urgent meeting to discuss ongoing concerns around the impact of ending EU free movement on the ability of UK creative professionals to tour and carry out other work throughout Europe.
It follows increased pressure on the government from across the creative industries. Last week, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Julie Walters were among more than 100 names who signed a letter to Boris Johnson, warning that visa rules for European touring would deal a “disastrous blow” to the industry.
Recognising that the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and other government departments are already addressing some issues, including through a touring Working Group and enhanced guidance, Hyslop’s letter claims recent attention has focused on the music industry, but that the issue affects the entire sector. “It is important that any actions support the culture and creative sectors as a whole, as a wide range of activities are affected by these issues. It is vital that the devolved administrations are fully involved in the development of any actions so that they reflect a truly four-nations approach,” she writes.
Eurovision 2021 - James Newman is getting another shot at Eurovision, after being reselected to represent the UK for the 2021 contest, scheduled to take place in Rotterdam in May. The singer-songwriter was chosen last year but the pandemic forced the event to be cancelled for the first time. His new song will be revealed at a later date but he's promising something "positive and upbeat".
James joins a number of other competitors from Eurovision's class of 2020 who will be returning in 2021. Eurovision bosses have a series of scenarios in place to make sure the event goes ahead this year, no matter how severely the pandemic is affecting the participating countries.
Still Life - Dolly Parton has requested that plans to erect a statue of her be delayed in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Democrat congressman John Mark Windle proposed a bill that called for the country singer to be honoured in the grounds of the Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee. But Parton has issued a statement saying: "Given all that is going on in the world, I don't think putting me on a pedestal is appropriate at this time."
She thanked the Tennessee legislature for their "consideration" and said she was "honoured and humbled by their intention". The country music star said that a monument to her might be more appropriate in the future. "I hope, though, that somewhere down the road several years from now, or perhaps after I'm gone if you still feel I deserve it, then I'm certain I will stand proud in our great State Capitol as a grateful Tennessean," she wrote.
(Jim Evans)
23 February 2021

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