On March 9th, the Department of Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media announced €50 million in funding for a suite of measures aimed at supporting the music industry. These supports include €25 million towards a Live Performance Support Scheme for events taking place up until September 30th 2021. €14 million has been allocated to the Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme to cover overheads for businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. €5 million will go to local authorities to organise outdoor live performances during the summer, subject to public health advice. These performances can be recorded and streamed if audiences are not permitted to gather. Along with several other schemes, this funding aims to provide job opportunities and generate high-quality cultural output.

This is a step in the right direction for the music industry. It has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike other sectors such as retail and hospitality, which were permitted to reopen for brief periods over the past year, the live music industry has remained shut down. It will in all likelihood be the last sector to reopen. This has been devastating to artists and those employed within the sector, along with audiences who are longing to attend live events. This funding has provided significant hope for the artistic community. Of particular note is the local authority funding for outdoor performances in the summer. The prospect of being able to attend live events soon provides a real glimmer of hope for all. It would certainly have a positive effect on the mood and mental health of the nation.

Upon the announcement of this funding, Minister Catherine Martin stated,

‘This range of measures will assist commercial venues, producers and promoters to do what they do best – make work for audiences –  and provide a valuable asset to our society missing culture and entertainment.’

The music industry and artistic community are being supported in a real and tangible way. This can only be positive for our country and economy, which has suffered so much through these unprecedented times.