COVID-19 Crisis Support
During these challenging times, we are endeavouring to keep our readers up-to-date with the very latest news, resources and offers of support in relation to the current global COVID-19 pandemic. We will be adding to this page regularly as the situation progresses. If you are aware of any industry-relevant information that you think would be useful to share, please let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Last Updated : 14:31, 27-03-2020]
Event freelancers offer NHS support - A group of UK entertainment technology freelancers have offered to help the NHS by using their skills to transform NHS facilities or other spaces into places for medical care. "In our industry, we are used to transforming a place used for one purpose into a place that can be used for another purpose. (…) We have engineers, electricians, lifters and shifters. (…) We have the capability to make a difference by using our immense pool of experience and skills to help you."
The full statement can be read HERE
Roadie Rescue Campaign – A coronavirus relief fund has been launched to help raise $250,000 for freelancers. The funds will be distributed to eligible professionals through MusiCares, a US charity organisation ran by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences.
To find out more or donate, visit: www.roadierescue.com/
Tech Support - A growing number of companies are pooling their resources into the Folding@Home project – a distributed computing scheme for disease research. Creative Technology recently joined the project, with other backers including nVidia, Google, Intel, GitHub, Screenworks, Univate, and Bexel.
To get involved, visit this page
#ThinkOthers Campaign - Edinburgh-based event company 21CC Group Ltd has launched an online campaign #ThinkOthers with the aim of connecting those who need help and those who can offer help during the coming weeks and months as a result of the effects of COVID-19. The campaign includes a Facebook support group.
Freelancers Unite - A Facebook group for UK live event industry freelancers has been set up to bring this unique workforce together during this challenging time. The group was created to be "a kind and cooperative environment to explore the information and feelings around coronavirus, and the impact that that is having, and has had, on the live events industry."
UK self-employed to be paid 80% of earnings
The chancellor Rishi Sunak has answered repeated calls to introduce further emergency measures to reimburse out-of-work self-employed workers. Until recently, the self-employed could only claim Universal Credit allowance of around £95 per week.
On Thursday evening (26/3), the chancellor announced a new self-employed income support scheme, which will see those eligible receive a taxable grant worth 80% of their earnings from the past three years, capped to £2,500 a month. The scheme will be open until at least June and the amount will be paid as a lump sum.
The scheme will only be open to individuals with average trading profits of up to £50,000 per year who make the majority of their income from self-employment. People will be able to claim whilst continuing to work.
To prevent fraud, only those who have filed a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply. To accommodate those who have missed the January submission deadline, the government will allow people to submit their tax return by the end of April.
See how to claim here.
Government Support - The UK government offers free advice for businesses and the self-employed via its Business Support Helpline:
England: 0300 456 3565
Wales: 0300 060 3000
Northern Ireland: 0800 181 4422
The government's 'Business Support' advice site can also be found HERE.
Support with Tax: Time to Pay service
HMRC has a set up a phone helpline to help support people through the Coronavirus outbreak. Up to 2,000 experienced call handlers are available to discuss your specific circumstances to explore: Agreeing an instalment arrangement; Suspending debt collection proceedings; Cancelling penalties and interest where you have administrative difficulties contacting or paying HMRC immediately.
The helpline number is: 0800 0159 559
Citizens Advice: Struggling with living costs
Citizens Advice is offering advice to anyone on a low income or struggling with living costs. Information includes how to get help from your local council, how to get an interest-free loan from the government, and getting benefits paid early.
Backup - Backup, the technical entertainment industry charity, offers valuable support to those in our industry at times of need: www.backuptech.uk
Music Support - Music Support is a registered charity founded and run by people from the UK music industry, for individuals in any area of the UK music industry suffering from mental, emotional and behavioural health disorders: 0800 030 6789 - www.musicsupport.org
Theatre Helpline - SOLT and UK Theatre operate a free, 24-hour Theatre Helpline phone service supporting theatre professionals with any issue affecting their health and wellbeing: 0800 915 4617 - email@example.com
Behind the Scenes - US entertainment technology charity Behind the Scenes has launched a simple web tool to help industry professionals identify mental and physical health conditions and get help. Visit this page to find out more.
Mental Health support - The Mental Health Foundation has issued some advice on looking after your mental health during the current coronavirus crisis, you can read it HERE
Arts Council England (ACE) has announced a £160m emergency response package to help cultural organisations, freelancers and individual artists survive the coronavirus crisis. The money is intended to prevent artists and arts organisations from going into liquidation, but is also designed to help them come up with creative responses "to buoy the public" during the lockdown.
Guidance for applicants, including detailed timetables, will be published on 30 March. Potential applicants will need to register on ACE's application portal Grantium by Friday, 3 April. For more information, visit: www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19
We have collated a list of training resources made available by the industry for the industry during this time of crisis that give those with unexpected down-time the opportunity to focus and learn. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and we will include your training initiatives below . . .
ETC LearningStage classes are free online until 15 May.
'Free for freelancers' grandMA2 user training (24-26 March) and network introduction (27 March) classes carried out by MA Lighting's UK distributor Ambersphere.
Contact email@example.com to book.
MA Lighting's e-learning platform MA University is also available globally.
Madrix will stream webinars on YouTube dedicated to its range of lighting control solutions. These will include an overview of Madrix Radar, the RDM tool for automatic device monitoring, and the latest software updates in Madrix 5. The sessions will run from 31 March to 3 April from 4pm CEST (2pm GMT). Visit Madrix's YouTube channel for more details.
Obsidian Control Systems is offering free online classes covering the Onyx control platform and Netron data distribution range. The courses take place weekly on Tuesdays (Introduction to Netron), Wednesdays (Onyx 101) and Thursdays (Onyx Advanced) each week.
Avid is providing free 90-day software licences for students affected by campus closures. If your university is an Avid Learning Partner, you should have already received instructions from the ALP team directly. Otherwise, you can request a code HERE.
Presentations of DiGiCo's Quantum system will be hosted on the company's Facebook page.
DWR Distribution will host tutorials dedicated to DiGiCo's SD Series consoles, with in-depth look at macros, in a public group on Facebook.
L-Acoustics is hosting daily webinars covering system design, system calibration, measurement and more. Application engineers are always on-hand to answer any questions live in a range of languages including English, French, German and Spanish. The schedule of upcoming webinars can be found HERE. Meanwhile, past webinars can be viewed HERE.
Martin Audio will hold weekly webinars from 1 April. Topics include Low Frequency System Design, Display 2.3, EASE Focus and WPS Optimised Line Arrays. The company will also unveil further topics covering Martin Audio's products and software as well as more general pro audio topics.
Out Board, the company behind the TiMax spatial sound technology, has announced a series of online training sessions with TiMax specialists in the UK and USA. Sessions are open to all sound designers, sound engineers and production sound techs worldwide on a first-come, first-served basis. Simply register to download TiMax SoundHub software (Mac or Windows) from the website and enter "1on1" into the About You section. Alternatively contact Out Board direct on firstname.lastname@example.org
Powersoft, the Italian amplification specialist, has released a series of online tutorials about the T Series and Mezzo. The group sessions are divided by region and available in English and Spanish. Visit this link to book your place.
Yamaha has highlighted some of its online training videos for audio professionals. Available from Yamaha's YouTube channel, these include:
Teachers' Tips video series
Rivage PM feature Vlog
MRX7-D signal processor training videos
How To Mix Live Music video series
BlackTrax seminars by CAST Software, from 24 March. Register HERE
WYSIWIG Essentials seminar series by CAST on Facebook, also from 24 March.more information.
Green Hippo is running daily webinars dedicated to Hippotizer, SHAPE and Hippotizer Dive Deep. Beginners welcome. Access them HERE
Video effects software company Notch has launched a design challenge for "all Notch artists wanting to show off and improve their skills, earn the coveted title of Notchmeister, and even win some prizes." The contest is split into two categories - video and interactive - and entrants will be in for a chance to win four six-month Builder Pro licenses (one for each category and for the group winner) as well as the Notch key chain to all top five entries. The competition will run from 25 March to 15 April - find out more here. Notch will also be releasing its Notch Essentials course in the coming weeks.
Free Vectorworks Spotlight Essentials seminar with the code TRAINMENOW.
Area Four Industries' A4.tv video channel hosts a catalogue of training videos.
PLASA is in constant contact with its members, responding to questions and concerns and sending daily emails with useful information and support guidelines. The association has also complied a list of useful resources, available at www.plasa.org
PLASA has also created closed Facebook and LinkedIn groups for its members to remain connected and share information throughout the coronavirus crisis.
The Association of Lighting Designers (ALD) has compiled a Coronavirus Financial Survival Guide which can be found HERE.
BECTU, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union, has also launched a coronavirus-related Q&A section.
SOLT / UK THEATRES have created a web portal with a collection of useful resources.
The Music Managers Forum (MMF) are gathering evidence on the impact COVID-19 has on the music makers and their representatives via an online survey.
Show Makers Symposium is beginning a series of free online webinars and podcasts to share and discuss various resources available to those challenged by the pandemic. The webinars can be accessed via registration HERE.
A fleet of manufacturers and distributors have issued statements regarding their status and business practices during the outbreak . . .
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UK loudspeaker manufacturer EM Acoustics will close its factory and suspend day-to-day business from 6pm on Friday, 27 March. "Without wanting to cast aside the value of our country's economy, the health and wellbeing of our staff and customers has to take priority, as well as a social responsibility to do our part to halt the spread of the virus in these difficult times," says the company in a statement. "Whilst the factory is closed and we will not be despatching any orders after Friday, our phone lines are diverted and emails will still be monitored so urgent communication can still get through to us - both for commercial matters and for technical support. We will endeavour to reopen the factory as soon as possible, once it is deemed safe to do."
As Italy's coronavirus lockdown continues, AEB Industriale - the owner of dBTechnologies - has also suspended its production activities. The organisation's support staff can be reached via phone or email. The statement is available in full here.
Barcelona's Amate Audio has found itself in a similar situation, with disruption to the supply chain and an extension to Spain's lockdown forcing the company to temporary cease production. "We are however continuing to supply our customers' orders from stock, across our international distributor network, and are maintaining the highest possible level of service in these unparalleled circumstances," says the company."Our sales and support staff are already working from home and are contactable via their usual email address. We are still active on our social media networks. Thank you very much for your understanding while #AmateAudioStaysHome."
Swiss pro audio and MI manufacturer Schertler has launched an initiative "to promote music and cohesion". "If you are a Schertler artist, a client, or if you play any instrument and are happy to be a part of this. Please share a video where you play on any social media, use the hashtag #StayAtHomeWithSchertler and tag us!
Italian loudspeaker manufacturer K-array has closed its factory and will offer support remotely until early April due to the coronavirus outbreak in Italy.
"At K-array, with the safety of our staff as the top concern, we have already been taking necessary steps to adapt our operations while remaining committed to driving business by enacting remote smart working for those who can, which has enabled us to interact with our customers and suppliers in a more safe and active way than before," says the company in a statement. "Our next action in respect to the latest restrictions imposed by the Italian government 22 March is to suspend all activity within the factory. K-array will remain engaged and available for support Monday through Thursday only by smart working through 3 April. "We appreciate your flexibility and understanding while we work together to navigate these circumstances. We reiterate our commitment to keep you updated and ask that you do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns."
Elation Professional and the ADJ Group of Companies have issued a statement to its clients and partners, available in full here. The companies' US operations will operate Monday to Thursday only whilst the European facility in Kerkrade, the Netherlands, remains operational but will not be open to customers and vendors; they can instead access free online trainings and product demo webinars.
DWR Distribution has also written a lengthy message of support, which can be read in full here. "Right now, we have fallen on some unprecedented challenges, but we will not be defeated," urges the company. "After every war, there is a respite; after every victory is a celebration. Generations before us have faced greater dangers, and they have survived. We will, too. The sun will come up, the people will go back into the streets, and we will mobilise our forces to throw the biggest celebration that the planet has ever seen."
A.C. Entertainment Technologies (AC-ET) has been "deeply shocked by the immediate and devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on companies' and people's livelihoods". "With our origins going back nearly 50 years, in that time we have never witnessed before such an unprecedented shut down of the industry that we are so hugely passionate about and proud to serve," says the company in a statement. "Although we have made adjustments in response to these unprecedented market conditions, for our customers we remain in operation as normal, and continue to have large stocks available."
Barcelona-based Amate Audio's founder and CEO Juan Amate says the company has implemented "adaptive measures" in this time of unprecedented crisis. "We are taking immediate action to secure the integrity of our supply and distribution chains and our clients' business, as well as our continued financial health and corporate wellbeing, throughout the course of the crisis and beyond. To this end, we are able to guarantee the continued delivery of orders to our clients during any reasonably foreseeable interruption to production, as may be required by the civil authorities. Likewise, our ability to quickly restart and achieve volume production secures our distribution and fulfilment capability as far as is possible. We do this with the utmost attention to the health and safety of our employees, whose wellbeing is always our first concern."
Lighting solutions maker Artistic Licence has also sought to reassure clients. "Our sales and production departments are operating normally and we have good levels of stock available for immediate delivery," the company says in a statement. "As a precaution, the decision has been made that staff who can work from home will do so from today onwards, until further notice. Email and telephone details will remain the same and all staff can be contacted as normal."
Danley Sound Labs has shared a similar statement: "We have now implemented measures to ensure the health and welfare of all our employees. However, as Danley builds its products in low-density production facilities in Georgia and North Carolina, we have the capability of providing many of our products during this unprecedented time. Our OS, GO2 and Nano lines are readily available. Wooden products will take a little longer." Many of Danley's engineers and technical support crew are working from home, and clients are encouraged to use emails to reach their representative.
EM Acoustics' operations director Mike Wheeler has the loudspeaker manufacturer doesn't expect to suffer from supply chain disruption, adding: "At the present time, we have no staffing issues and our manufacturing schedules are operating as normal. We are therefore able to fulfil all orders for the forseeable future without significant delay. However with new government policies being implemented at short notice we will continue to monitor and heed expert advice, and will notify you of any changes to our activities."
The Netherlands' Highlite International has vowed to stand by its clients. "The coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to so many entertainment possibilities. This affects everybody who puts their passion for this line of work first. But sometimes you need a bit of dark to appreciate the light and there are always ways to find the right light. (…) The true power of entertainment is you. Your passion is your drive and your motivation is the energy to keep going when everything else tends to stop. And we at Highlite support you all the way."
Neutrik (UK) has also said it has put measures in place to ensure the safety of its employees and is adhering to all site hygiene recommendations issued by the government and the WHO, with some of its staff now working from home. "Having put these measures in place, we are able to fully maintain production, fulfil and ship orders at this time," says the company. "All frontline sales and support team members are contactable on all the usual channels of communication."
Mark Perrins, MD of Neutrik (UK), comments: "As circumstance surrounding Covid-19 changes we will adapt in line with current legislation and guidelines to ensure the safety of our employees and customers. If this involves any operational changes, we will notify our customers and suppliers immediately. In the meantime, on behalf of the entire company I would like to express to everyone our best wishes for their wellbeing, and our hope for a speedy end to the crisis."
More to follow . . .