CRF0001

 

Written evidence submitted by A V Matrix

 

I’m writing to give you evidence regarding what I believe to be an incorrect judgement of our CRF grant application. We were refused a grant and I really can’t fathom why.

 

A V Matrix summary

 

A V Matrix is based in Yorkshire and provides technical services for live events. This includes but is not limited to sound, lighting, video, staging and power.  Our equipment finds its way onto a great many stages and performances country wide. Past events where you may have seen our equipment include but are not limited to Glastonbury, Isle of White Festival, Cream fields, Slam Dunk festival, various music tours from Pakistani music maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Travis Scott, Moody Blues and Blondie etc. We also support a huge amount of Grass-roots events such as The Swaledale Festival, Harrogate International Festival as well as lots of Am-Dram productions locally and several theatre shows including professional pantos etc. We also have a number of corporate clients who we produce entertainment shows, the acts we’ve worked with include Dynamo, Diversity, Craig David, Alan Carr, Jimmy Carr, Michael McIntyre, Take That, Olly Murrs, Kylie and Little Mix etc

 

Our range of work is huge. We could be doing production for a superb folk music event one minute, the next we’re doing a show in Brixton accedy with American rapper Travis Scott.

 

Since 2003 we have built a great reputation for technical expertise. We had pro covid over 20 full time employees we currently have 7 but should we survive we intend to re-employ ASAP. It should also be noted that we use a huge amount of freelancer’s, some events can have 30+ and we have relationships with approx. 100.

 

Our spend on full time waged was in the region of £600k. Our freelance spend was almost £550k.

 

Our company reserves have dropped massively. Pre covid our company reserves were approx. £439,000. We’ve liquidated some assets and borrowed on CBILS. Our shareholder funds are not stored in cash the money is invested in our hire equipment; this is what we use to hire out to clients to produce our revenue.

 

ACE CRF application feedback

 

My colleagues and myself are devastated not to have been supported by ACE, putting our company in grave danger of collapse in the coming 3-4 months without intervention.  Over the last few weeks we have seen an increased level of bookings but due to our cash position, we may find it incredibly hard to service this work.

 

We have to date lost more than £3m of business since March 2020. We were expecting to have run out of money by now but we are continuing to struggle on for the time being. We’ve gained a small amount of additional support which we did not have earlier in the year when we applied for CRF round 2.

 

 

Pre Covid our company turned over approx. £3.4m per year. 2020/21 was going to be our best yet with expected revenues of £4m. After 17 years of successful operation, we are an important link in the supply chain and creative industries economy, in a relatively poorly served area of England (Yorkshire).  Like many companies we have had to make drastic cuts and savings to try to make sure we stayed afloat. This included cuts to our warehouse space, reducing the vehicle fleet, liquidating older assets and I’m afraid some redundancies.

 

We are almost at the end of financial resources; we’ve borrowed all we can borrow on CBILS (£345,000) and I have put in everything I have personally to keep us going including borrowing £50,000. It is well understood that it has been impossible to predict how long this whole ordeal was going to continue, and the impact to live events could well end up lasting nearly 2 years. Encouraging as it is to have a date when restrictions are being lifted, events may well be restricted in size and number for some time to come.

 

I have asked ACE for some additional information regarding the decision not to award us a grant.  Having reviewed our application against ACE comments and having researched other companies of a similar nature who were successful, I am putting forward these points.

 

 

 

Also, when writing the application in January, there were no definite dates for events to restart. As it’s now April we do have some events penciled in the diary. They exemplify some of the diversity and range of our work within the cultural sector, within a wide range of performance genre, including big scale popular music, grass-roots music festivals, Asian and classical music, theatre shows, spoken word and comedy. These include and are not limited to the following, with the diary looking better the further into the year we go.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We know that this was a competitive fund with no guarantees.  However, we are questioning the validity of the comments in relation to our application, and in relation to the awards to other companies providing very similar services, and in many cases a much more limited one in terms of range and reach. 

 

We would very much appreciate any further information you can give us that could help us understand the decision in the light of the points above. 

 

April 2021