Written evidence submitted by the Concert Promoters’ Association


Written submission from the Concert Promoters’ Association (CPA) to the DCMS Select Committee on the impact of Covid-19 on any sectors under the DCMS remit.


Executive summary

From the 16th March when Government advised citizens to avoid non-essential contact with others, followed by the closure of the entertainment and events sector, venues across the United Kingdom have been closed and therefore unable to generate revenue. Additionally, a whole summer of festivals was cancelled. This has hit not only the venues and festivals hard, but the entire live music ecosystem badly, with artists and promoters making no income from live over the last three months with none expected any time soon.


With the easing of restrictions expected on July 4th most industries will be able to get back to business. Current social distancing requirements make most shows and festivals economically unviable. You will see in attachment two that even with a 1m social distancing rule in place most venues would be running at least a 65% capacity loss.


Whilst a lot of Government focus has so far been on the grassroots music venues - which are the training grounds for the stars of tomorrow - the whole ecosystem needs support. The stars of the future also need the clubs, arenas, stadiums and festivals to progress to, and the UK economy relies on the income these venues and events generate (direct £1.1 billion, indirect £2 billion). We must focus on how to make all live performances economically viable, as well as safe. This will in turn support the whole career of an artist, as well as the 200,000 people currently working in the music sector.


Key points and asks


-          We ask Government to remove social distancing requirements for arenas, stadiums, venues and festivals. Furlough for employees of promoters and venues that do not receive Government funding should be extended until social distancing is removed.

-          We call for an immediate reduction in VAT for tickets for live events until summer 2023 which should be backdated to all shows that were scheduled to happen from March onwards.

-          We call for refund protection from Government which would allow event organisers to issue no refunds for shows rescheduled within 15 months.


-          We call on Government to offer indemnity for the live events sector or establish a Government-backed insurance solution, as is the case for terrorism.  The sector needs certainty that events will be able to take place, or if forced to cancel, our sunk costs can be recouped.  


-          We call for Government to extend business rates waiver to venues, offices of promoters/venue operators, and theatres who do not receive Arts Council funding and whose business is not viable whilst social distancing is in place.


Attachments included in this submission

  1. Letter from the Concert Promoters Association (CPA) to Secretary of State Oliver Dowden
  2. Reduced capacity annex to CPA letter showing an estimated 75% capacity loss at 2m social distancing, and a 65% loss at 1m social distancing
  3. Letter from the group Get Back To Live group representing over 100 of the largest organisations at the core of the venue-based music industry


  1. Get Back To Live economic impact graphic


  1. Ticketing allocation spreadsheet – how ticket allocation is divided between venues and agents
  2. Melvin Benn’s Full Capacity Plan

  1. CPA letter


The Rt Hon Oliver Dowden CBE MP The Secretary of State Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport 100 Parliament Street, Westminster,  London SW1A 2BQ

8th June 2020

Dear Secretary of State,   

The CPA represents promoters and venues from across the United Kingdom. I write to you now, after we have worked long and hard to look at how we can best support our members throughout this unprecedented situation.  

While we accept the Government’s ban on mass gatherings from a public health perspective, the decision hit our members’ businesses first and hit hard.  From the 16th March when Government advised citizens to avoid non-essential contact with others, followed by the closure of the entertainment and events sector, our members have not been able to generate revenue.    

As we enter the period of the year where the live music and entertainment sector would expect to generate most revenue, we are prevented from putting on shows, events and festivals.    

Even with the easing of restrictions expected on July 4th, current social distancing requirements make most CPA members shows and festivals economically unviable.  To open our doors to loss-making activity after four months of zero revenue is a decision that will be in varying degrees difficult to impossible.  

The support Government has offered industry through CJRS is welcome, but it will end in October long before we are back to full business.   

The live music and entertainment sector is critical to the international cultural reputation of the UK, just as the revenue it generates from its world leading venues, festivals and shows is critical to the UK economy.   

Our members activity drives international tourism into the UK.  We create a platform for new music and new business.  We are one of the fastest growing areas of employment and support a huge ancillary local economy. 

One night of live music in Birmingham could generate £3m for the local economy; the Great Escape festival in Brighton generates £16 million worth of business for artists, managers, songwriters, producers and all involved in the production of live events. TRNSMT festival in Glasgow generated a local economic impact of £10 million.  

At stake right now are the livelihoods of at least 200,000 employees, £1.1 billion generated by live music for the UK economy, £30.2 million collected in royalties from live music by PRS for musicians and songwriters, the £1.28 billion and 20,550 jobs generated by the UK’s arenas, the economy generated by the 30 million fans who will not be attending live music events this year including the 5 million fans who will not attend festivals this year.   

We ask Government to remove social distancing requirements for arenas, stadiums, venues and festivals.  Following Festival Republic’s Full Capacity Plan, the industry could move back to normal rather than partial opening as soon as November using an incentive-based scheme devised to increase public use of the NHS Trace App.  Working in partnership with Government, a test would allow the public safe access to live entertainment as an alternative to social distancing.

The removal of the 2m distancing rule will mean that CPA members would have a viable case for opening. In New Zealand, all social distancing measures will be lifted next week as the country moves to a base-level alert.   

If Government cannot remove the social distancing requirements entirely, the maximum social distancing rule should be moved to 1m by July 4th in line with the World Health Organisation guidance and other markets in Europe such as France and Italy. Of course, 1m remains a high barrier to business. The attached document shows modelling for venues of various capacities.  At 2m social distancing there is a 75% loss of capacity and at 1m social distancing lowers only slightly to 65%. It would be impossible to stage classical concerts or performances with a full orchestra at 1m social distancing.

If social distancing is imposed, CPA members will need urgent support to sustain our businesses until such time.  The UK Government must provide a targeted financial recovery programme for the live music and entertainment sector along the lines of that from other Governments.  New Zealand announced a NZ$175 million package for music. Germany announced a €150 million live music fund. The French Government pledged €50 million on top a separate ‘festival fund’.  

The UK market is far larger and far more important to the global live entertainment economy than any of those listed above.  The sheer size and success of the UK’s live music and entertainment sector means the impact will be proportionately harder than for live in markets in Europe and Australasia.  A recovery package must be implemented for our sector before the tapering of the CJRS at the end of July if the industry has any hope of tiding the next two years and having the resources to return to full business when social distancing is removed.  

Two further matters we ask Government to address.

First the CPA is calling for an immediate reduction in VAT for tickets for live events for a minimum of 18 months.  Across Europe a reduced VAT rate is offered to leisure and hospitality.  CPA members are currently focused on whether we will continue to stay in business.  A VAT break would support us through these tough economic trading conditions.  It would considerably help us weather the storm until such a time as CPA members are able to return to full business.   At that time, our members will resume their generation of huge tax receipts for HMT and the UK economy. 

Second, the insurance industry is currently unwilling to provide any cover for COVID-19.  This essentially means that any shows we invest in and promote are exposed to financial risk. From the moment shows are on sale, we immediately incur a range of costs including ticketing, marketing, venue hire and production. As these are currently uninsurable, promoters face potential losses from sunk costs for shows in the planning stage should restrictions be re-imposed forcing cancellation.  We either need certainty that events will be able to take place, or more support from the insurance industry with cover made available for purchase.

As industry leaders we want to ensure the survival of as much of our members’ business as possible, thus enabling them to continue to make a significant contribution to the UK culture and economy when we eventually emerge from this crisis.   Touring and live performance is the biggest income generator for all those involved in live entertainment from the venues, to the artist, stagehand and production crew. All the connected employment needs the support of the UK Government until the sector can fully get back on the road.  Investment now in the live music and entertainment sector makes sense as it will drive economic activity - jobs and recovery - across all UK tourism and hospitality.   

More importantly, British and international fans, for their health and wellbeing, will need live music and entertainment more than ever to help recover from this crisis.   

Yours sincerely  





Phil Bowdery, Chairman CPA 


CC: Minister for Digital and Culture, DCMS, Caroline Dinenage MP and advisors

  1. Reduced capacity annex to CPA letter



Modelling assumes a 75% cap loss at 2m and 65% loss at 1m, reflected below

Venue Capacity                            Cap@2m                                     Cap@1m                                             

500                                                            125                                       175                                            

800                                                      200                                       280                                             

1000                                                     250                                       350                                             

1200                                                     300                                       420                                              

1500                                                     375                                       525                                             

1600                                                     400                                       560                                             

1800                                                    450                                       630                                           

2000                                                     500                                       700                                            

2150                                                     537                                       752                                          

2300                                                     575                                       805                                          

2550                                                     637                                       892                                         

3009                                                     752                                       1053                                         

3500                                                     875                                       1225                                        

4921                                                    1230                                     1772

  1. On behalf of Get Back to Live – Live Music Industry Request

Karl Chapman 

Mon 08/06/2020 17:21

To:  xxxxxxxx

Cc:  xxxxxxxx

Dear Tal


Get Back to Live – A Position Statement and Request for Support from the UK’s Live Music Industry


Key Summary

Get Back to Live is a group set up in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic. We represent over 100 of the largest organisations at the core of the venue-based music industry in the UK - from arenas and concert halls the length and breadth of the country to the concert promoters that make the events happen in venues and at festivals – the Concert Promoters Association, the National Arenas Association and the British Association of Concert Halls.


We are the Premier League of live music and entertainment.  We cater to millions of fans, millions of tourists and support a huge ecosystem of employment and creative development locally, nationally and internationally.

We are committed to getting back to live while keeping our audiences, staff and artists safe and not increasing the risks to the wider public and the NHS.


Economic impact

The UK Music industry has for decades been a cultural and economic success, with live music last year hitting a record high of a £1.1 billion contribution to the value of the British economy and providing an engine to drive the wider music sector. Nearly 25 million people attended a concert in 2018.* In addition:


Across the UK the figures and the impact on jobs and livelihoods become stark as we head toward a meltdown in our sector.


It is easy to tell the simple story: no venue equals no show. But what you see on the stage – your favourite band, one of our great orchestras or a top comedian - is the tip of the iceberg supported by a rich cast of industries all relying on the income generated by the final event. Lighting designers, sound engineers, riggers and transport/logistic companies, and local crew all make the show happen; PR, advertising and marketing agencies, merchandise, box office staff, videographers and designers are relied on to sell the event; a network of orchestras, dancers, backing vocalists and freelancers, rehearsal studios and artist’s agents all deliver the show;  the taxi drivers and local transport networks; the pubs, bars and restaurants that surround our shows and events also all rely on our busy venues for their own economic survival.


Entertainment venues support thousands of jobs and numerous industries that stretch a broad cross section of all services from cleaning, waste disposal and painting as well as the more obvious jobs involved in the production of shows. The economic impact of the wider community cannot be ignored as these businesses rely upon on our event calendars to support their own businesses. A Monday night in November can offer very little footfall for these businesses, however, with an event taking place at the arenas and concert halls these businesses are busy and rely upon our activity to support their non-peak times. This also extends to the smaller independent shops and businesses.


Venues have acted as a catalyst for the regeneration of deprived areas. The Utilita Arena in Birmingham City Centre is a good example of this type of regeneration with the development of luxury accommodation alongside affordable social housing, bars, restaurants, retail and visitor attractions all being developed since the venue opened 30 years ago.


The majority of staff employed directly or indirectly by the arena are very local, especially service providers and agency staff (security / cleaning / catering).


A complex supply chain that can be lost from view, and all of which require planning times of many months to deliver. We cannot just turn on the tap and deliver a concert in a few days or weeks.


Road Map to Recovery and Adaptation

Our industry finds itself in an impossible situation which is likely to result in the imminent collapse of the sector adding tens of thousands of people across the UK to the unemployment line. But we are creative, resilient and focussed on solutions on getting back to live. Survey after survey show that audiences want the live venue experience back in their lives but only when safe to do so.

We can create the framework for getting back to live but call on the UK and devolved parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to:

Without which, decades of success and investment in our creative industries will simply melt away.


We would very much appreciate further dialogue with you to discuss these issues in more detail.


Kind regards


Signed by, and sent on behalf of, the following


Concert Promoters Association Membership

AEG Presents Ltd

Academy Music Group

Aiken Productions

Artist Promotions Management



Bridgewater Hall

Bristol Music Trust

Broadwick Live

Celtic Connections

CMP Live

Crosstown Concerts

Cuffe and Taylor

D.F. Concerts Ltd

Dan Colman Limited

Derek Block Concert Promotions Ltd

DHP Family

Edge Street Live


Exchange Events

Festival Republic

Flying Music

Form Presents

Forest Live

FVWL Hotel Ltd (University of Bolton Stadium)

Green Man Festival

Handshake Ltd

HQ Theatres



Jockey Club Racecourses

Kennedy Street Enterprises

Kilimanjaro Live

Leeds Town Hall

Live Nation (Music) UK Limited

Liverpool Philharmonic Hall

Marshall Arts

MCD Productions

Metropolis Music

NUS Services Ltd

Performances Birmingham

Phil McIntyre Entertainments

Portsmouth Cultural Trust

Raymond Gubbay Limited

Regular Music

Robomagic Live


Sage Gateshead


Serious Ltd

SJM Concerts

Southbank Centre

Superstruct Entertainment

The Gig Cartel

Triple A Entertainment Group

Triple G Music


Usher Hall, Edinburgh

Wolverhampton Civic Hall

Workers Beer Company


National Arenas Association



Alexandra Palace


Bournemouth International Centre


Derby Arena


East of England Arena


First Direct Arena


FlyDSA Arena


M&S Bank Arena


Manchester Arena


Motorpoint Arena Cardiff


Motorpoint Arena Nottingham




P and J Live


Resorts World Arena


Ricoh Arena


Royal Albert Hall




SSE Arena Belfast


SSE Arena, Wembley


The Brighton Centre


The O2


Utilita Arena


Utilita Arena



    British Association of Concert Halls

The Anvil


Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Halls


Town Hall & Symphony Hall


Wiltshire Music Centre

Bradford on Avon

Brighton Dome & Festival


St George’s


Colston Hall


The Apex,

Bury St Edmunds

St David’s Hall


Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama


Fairfield Halls


National Concert Hall


Usher Hall


Sage Gateshead


Glasgow’s Concert Halls


Leeds Town Hall


De Montfort Hall


Philharmonic Hall


Cadogan Hall


Kings Place


Wigmore Hall




Southbank Centre


St John’s, Smith Square


Royal Albert Hall


Bridgewater Hall


Stoller Hall


Royal Northern College of Music


Middlesbrough Town Hall


Royal and Derngate


Royal Concert Hall & Theatre Royal


Perth Concert Hall


Lighthouse Poole’s Centre for the Arts


Portsmouth Guildhall


Saffron Hall

Saffron Walden

Turner Sims Concert Hall


Warwick Arts Centre





* UK Music live report 2019

** The ABO State of the UK’s Orchestras 2019 report



Karl Chapman

Cultural Venues Manager

City of Edinburgh Council

  1. Get Back To Live Economic impact graphic



  1. Ticketing allocation spreadsheet









Agent A

Agent B

Agent C

Agent D

Agent E

Agent F

Agent G

Arena A

Event A


















Event B


















Event C


















Event D


















Theatre B

Event E


















Event F


















Open Air Theatre

Event G



















Event H



















Event I

























  1. Melvin Benn’s Full Capacity Plan










The Full Capacity Plan
















Copyright Symbol June 2020

Melvin Benn



Health Verification Proposal v0.1






Our shared interest


Our proposal
















Industry needs              HMG needs




Increasing COVID-19 testing




By providing an incentive based scheme we can help government rapidly increase public use

of the NHSX trace app and participation rates for COVID-19 population testing



Limited Incentive              Personal Incentive




Today, limited incentives to take a COVID-19 test are resulting in a cap on population testing rates. Plus only those with symptoms are likely to attend

By linking a test with a personal incentive, this cap can be removed and testing numbers accelerate, increasing governments situational awareness. Plus those with symptoms and those who are asymptomatic are likely to attend




Safely restarting the economy






Where there is low testing and uncertainty around public infection rates, social

Free Human Figure Images, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...Free Person Cliparts, Download Free Clip Art, Free Clip Art on ...distancing must be maintained.              2m

But this is causing economic damage as some industries cannot operate under these conditions





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Working in partnership




Every music, sport, theatre or restaurant trip = a motivation to test