The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 29 June 2021
Survival Course - The Womad music festival has been cancelled "to guarantee its survival", co-founder Peter Gabriel has announced. Earlier this month, the former Genesis singer warned that the three-day event might not go ahead without government-backed insurance or test event status. Confirming the cancellation, he said waiting for either would "put Womad's long-term future at risk".
In a statement, Gabriel said the decision to cancel his world music festival, which was launched almost 40 years ago and attracts about 40,000 people each year, was made "with great regret". "We feel that our audience, artists, staff, and contractors, who have been amazingly supportive throughout all this, will understand the need for us to act to guarantee our survival," he wrote.
Gabriel said the decision to grant test event status to some festivals due to be held on the same 22-25 July weekend as Womad "clearly implies that only approved test events will be protected and guaranteed the right to go ahead as normal - even though this flies in the face of the Prime Minister's statements".
Recovery Fund - The final round of the Culture Recovery Fund will comprise £220m in grants intended to help organisations reopen and return to full capacity, the government has confirmed. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced how it will spend the £300m of culture-specific support announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak in the spring Budget.
About £220m will be made available for another round of CRF grant support, which will be open to “culturally significant” organisations that have not previously received CRF support but are at imminent risk of failure, as well as existing recipients. Like the previous rounds of CRF, the third tranche of grants will be focused on organisations and will not be directly distributed to the freelance workforce.
DCMS said the fund would help organisations reopen and return to full capacity, providing financial protection through to the end of the year, as well as safeguarding “hundreds of thousands of creative jobs in the supply chain”. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “This round of funding will provide a further boost to help organisations build back better and ensure we can support more of those in need – safeguarding our precious culture and heritage, and the jobs this supports.” DCMS said applications would open “shortly”, but has not given a time frame for the funding process.
Red Tape - Artists including Radiohead, Biffy Clyro and Ghostpoet are urging the government to make touring Europe easier, to prevent "the collapse of the industry". Post-Brexit restrictions mean UK artists will face red tape and fees for visas to play in some EU countries. More than 200 artists have joined the #LetTheMusicMove campaign - which says artists at every level are considering whether to book tour dates in the EU. They say the restrictions "threaten the future success of British music".
The campaign's organiser, the Featured Artists' Coalition, says that, in 2019, UK artists played almost four times as many shows in the EU than they did in North America. It is asking for the government to deliver "transitional support package" to cover new and additional costs of touring, measures to overcome restrictions on transporting instruments and stage equipment, and a promise that EU artists will have reciprocal freedoms.
A separate group of musicians including Duran Duran, Massive Attack and Fatboy Slim have signed an open letter urging the prime minister "to fix this crisis facing our industry".
Down By The River - A 200-seat outdoor theatre is to open in south London, based in the grounds of a dockyard founded by Henry VIII. Shipwright will operate in the grounds of the Master Shipwright’s house in Deptford and promises to offer “a vibrant programme of arts in the garden of this unique house” as well as food served by local restauranteurs Klose and Soan.
The Master Shipwright’s house is one of the few remaining parts of Deptford’s former Royal Dockyard, which was founded by Henry VIII in1513. The venue will initially operate at 50% capacity with socially distanced audiences. It is being run by artistic director Joseph Winters and executive director Emma Halstead, and its programme will include cabaret, drag, classical music, jazz, contemporary music, theatre, dance and visual art running across three weekends from 22 July to 7 August.
Winters said: “Here’s the big idea: audiences and performers alike come to the theatre, to gigs, to cabaret, in order to feel at home. It is with enormous excitement that we announce Shipwright’s first summer festival: three weekends of entertainment in the heart of Deptford. We welcome theatrical world premieres, riotous nights of cabaret and some of the most acclaimed live musicians to delight audiences with a truly diverse programme of great nights out with arts, food and drink all in one unique venue.”
Name Games - Sir Ringo Starr has dropped his legal case against the makers of a sex toy called a Ring O. The Beatles drummer challenged the Ring O trademark, saying it's too similar to his name and might cause confusion. Sir Ringo had argued that his reputation would be damaged if the Ring O name was registered as a trademark with US authorities. But he has now withdrawn his complaint after reaching an agreement with the manufacturers.
His lawyers originally complained that the brand was "identical in appearance, sound, connotation and pronunciation" to his own name, which he has already trademarked. Documents filed by his lawyers in 2019 said: "Consumers will likely believe that Opposer's [Starr's] newest venture is sex toys - and this is an association that Opposer does not want." The rock legend "wants nothing to do with the goods", they said, adding that any connection would tarnish his "name, likeness, and brand".
(Jim Evans)
29 June 2021

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