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Minister Martin launches new €50m suite of measures to support the Live Performance Sector

  • €25m new Live Performance Support Scheme
  • €14m new support scheme for live entertainment businesses
  • €5m to local authorities for outdoor live performances
  • €5m capital supports for live entertainment sector
  • €1m to St. Patrick’s Festival
  • performances that will occur on or before 30th September 2021.
  • Support the creation of employment and wellbeing opportunities in the culture and creative industries and the generation of high quality artistic output.
  • Scheme is aimed at commercial venues, producers and promoters in the culture sector (e.g. music, entertainment and theatre).
  • Awards will range from €10k upwards.


The Live Performance Support Scheme 2021 will be open for applications from 19th March 2021 until Wednesday 14th April. Further information can be found here.


As a further support measure for those in the live music entertainment industry, the Minister is announcing funding of up to €14m for a new scheme to make a contribution to the overheads of businesses that have been significantly negatively affected by COVID-19 and that do not qualify for other business supports. 


The main features of this new Music Entertainment Business Assistance Scheme (MEBAS) will see support offered by way of two levels of flat payments:

  • €2,500 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover of €20,000 - €100,000;
  • €5,000 for businesses with a VAT-exclusive turnover in excess of €100,000.


Self-employed businesses whether sole traders, partnerships and incorporated entities operating exclusively within the commercial live entertainment sector are eligible to apply. The scheme is expected to open next month.


€5m will be allocated to local authorities to facilitate programming of outdoor live performances in summer 2021 animating town centres for local communities, should public health considerations permit.  The Department will develop guidance to mitigate the risk of congregation. It will allow for the procurement by local authorities of performances by local performers. Performances can be recorded or streamed if health restrictions prevent live events.  Local authorities will be encouraged to engage events companies to develop and deliver a programme of performances. 


A separate €5m will be available for a scheme of capital supports for the commercial live entertainment sector. This will be applied to supporting the installation of high quality recording and streaming facilities in venues through a competitive grant application process.


Lastly, as previously announced, up to €1 million has been allocated for the St. Patrick’s Festival 2021 to support the employment of performers, producers, artists, technicians, creatives and support staff.  With gatherings still restricted, SPF 2021 has curated a rich and dynamic programme of events involving hundreds of artists, musicians, performers, creators, and community organisations that will be broadcast on the St. Patrick’s Festival TV online channel over six days and nights, marking the national day.


In addition, the Minister announced today that she is establishing the Return to Live Entertainment Working Group to develop overarching Covid-19 sectoral guidance for the live entertainment sector. The membership of the Working Group would include stakeholders with appropriate technical knowledge in the planning, management and delivery of events who will be charged with ensuring that the necessary guidance will be in place to facilitate the reopening of the sector when it safe to do so.  The establishment of this group addresses a recommendation of the Arts and Culture Recovery Taskforce.


The Department will have regard to the recommendations of the Night-time Economy Taskforce within the implementation and rollout of the measures.


“I want to see the safe return to live music and entertainment as soon as public health restrictions allow. The schemes announced today will see the sector supported in the months ahead and return to work, albeit in a limited capacity.  The Live Entertainment industry has extensive expertise in developing health and safety protocols and, following two successful test pilot events in 2020, I now intend to establish a consultative stakeholder forum that will help solidify the guidance for reopening and returning to live performance,” said the Minister.