Bayreuth (dpa) – According to concert promoter Semmel Concerts, artists should once again be able to perform in full halls and concert halls from September.
Vaccinated and convalescent people should be allowed to attend events without keeping their distance, said managing director Dieter Semmelmann of the German news agency in Bayreuth. If the policy did not allow people who do not want to be vaccinated, “then we would support it for a limited time.” We must not push the industry even further to zero because part of the population does not want to be vaccinated. People and companies should once again be able to act independently.
Semmel Concerts, headquartered in Bayreuth, works with celebrities such as Elton John, Sarah Connor and Roland Kaiser. Semmelmann and others demand a reliable outlook in order to be able to properly prepare for live performances. By the end of July, the industry needs a statement on the conditions under which events will be possible from September 1. After all, you need at least four to six weeks of lead time before each event.
But it is precisely this security that politics does not provide. A spokeswoman for State Minister for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU) explains that no general statement can be made on the prospects of concert organizers. Federal states are generally responsible for regulating corona protection measures and the associated opening restrictions and bans. And these also differed in their conception with regard to cultural events. “In addition, protective measures are linked to the evolution of the pandemic and in this regard no reliable and long-term statement is possible.”
It doesn’t help the organizers much. “After a year and a half with no income and no prospects, everyone is really desperate,” says Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV). For this year, the industry expects a drop of 98%, a loss of nearly eleven billion euros in turnover. Michow cites a survey by the Ifo Institute in Munich from June. According to this, 70 percent of companies in the event industry feared for their existence.
On Tuesday there were new regulations for major cultural events in Bavaria, for example. If the number of infections is low, 35% of places can now be occupied, a maximum of 20,000. Applicable are: a distance of 1.5 meters, indoor mask requirement and access only for vaccinated, convalescent or negatively tested people.
The rescue? Barely. At best, half-full concert halls are not profitable. “It can work in publicly funded institutions. For concert and tour organizers, however, performances only make sense if you can make money with them. It’s impossible under the current conditions, ”explains Michow. Rent for large locations such as the Munich Olympic Hall alone could be in the range of six figures. If only 35% of the tickets could then be sold, this would not be economically feasible.
The federal government offers a special fund for cultural events. The profitability aid provided therein only applies to events with up to 2,000 visitors. But Semmel Concerts alone has more than 100 concerts from September to December with 2,500 to 10,000 tickets sold. While there is failure protection for larger events, it does not compensate for economic deficits.
If nothing changes, many organizers will likely just have to cancel everything and postpone everything again – as since the start of the pandemic over a year ago. The catch-up dates are multiplying in the meantime. “In principle, we are postponing well over 1,000 events that should take place in 2020 or 2021,” says Semmelmann. “It is hardly possible to get free appointments any more, as the rooms and places are so full.”