Newsletter: LIVE welcomes Labour’s commitment to improving EU touring arrangements


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LIVE welcomes Labour’s commitment to improving EU touring arrangements. 

LIVE was listening carefully as Shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves MP restated Labour’s commitment to improving EU touring arrangements during a speech to business leaders on 28 May. 

Building on the plans laid out in the Labour Creatives document – the party’s action plan for the creative industries, should they win the July election – Reeves announced that “we will forge a closer relationship with our nearest neighbours in the European Union, to ease the burden of bureaucracy and red tape on British businesses; including a new veterinary agreement, an agreement on touring visas, and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications” 

Improved touring arrangements with the EU would deliver vital opportunities into the hands of our world-class musicians and crew, safeguard our creative talent pipeline, and bring valuable commercial benefits to EU venues and festivals. LIVE looks forward to working with whichever party forms the next Government, and will continue to advocate for these vital reforms which will deliver benefits across the live music ecosystem in the UK and EU.

Powered by Freelancers – the Live Music Edition 2024

Produced in partnership with Handle Freelance Solutions, THE BACK LOUNGE and UK Live Events Freelancer Forum, Powered by Freelancers – The Live Music Edition 2024 was commissioned to help identify the changes required to improve the experience of freelancers in the music industry. LIVE was able to dig into the experiences of some 1,281 live music freelancers to understand why this group love working in the industry – as well as their key concerns and suggestions for a more freelancer-friendly industry going forward. 

Of those 1,281 live music freelancers who contributed, 87% of respondents stated that “freelance work provides my primary income.” One of the key findings was that 73% of respondents agreed that live music is a great industry for freelancers to work in, with over 60% feeling “optimistic” about the next 12 months. 

However, the report also highlights areas where changes are required to improve the experience of freelancers, which include financial security, better pay, flexibility and work-life balance. When asked about recruitment and securing work, 59% of respondents agreed that enough freelance jobs were available, but 56% said that they found it difficult to access or secure those roles. This also raised issues among younger people and non-male respondents with some expressing less optimism about job security and more difficulty finding work. The cancellation of work by event organisers at short notice also emerged as a key concern for many of those taking part in the survey. With less than half of respondents (49%) having signed contracts in the last 12 months before agreeing roles, a similar percentage have experienced cancellation of work in the same period with 48% having jobs cancelled with less than one week’s notice.

Darren Woolnough, managing director at Handle Freelance Solutions, said: “The research mirrors the conversations that we have daily. It highlights a significant concern where late payments and a lack of formal contracts can often be normalised within the freelance community. Instead of pointing fingers, our commitment is to provide the guidance and solutions to help companies understand how they can deliver an exceptional freelancer experience and this research is invaluable to helping us do exactly that.”

Suzi Green, Founder of The Back Lounge, said: “Thanks to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey, we now have an invaluable temperature check of where we as an industry, powered predominantly by freelancers, are at, right now. Hopefully it will spark conversations, provoke reactions, and ultimately help influence positive change in some of the areas where change is much needed.”

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, said: “Freelancers are crucial to the success of the live music ecosystem and our industry relies on them to deliver unforgettable experiences for fans. Much in the report is great to see, not least the resoundingly positive response from people when asked if ours is a great industry to be in. Of course, reports like this will always highlight opportunities for improvement and we will be taking all of these learnings and funnelling them into the work of our LIVE Workforce group, where industry experts alongside ED&I and workforce specialists work towards objectives that positively impact the current and future workforce of our industry.”

Invigorating research from industry sustainability pioneers betternotstop: More Than Music II  

The second edition of the More than Music report, overseen by green stalwarts Better Not Stop, celebrates the UK music festivals contributing to the decarbonisation of the sector, and directs attention to the urgent need to reassess fuels and materials usage across the rest of the festivals landscape. With data gathered from 100 UK music festivals, the report also draws attention to the rapid shrinkage of a sector under significant financial strain – with 17 of the original contributors to the 2022 report having closed their doors. Taking notice of this research offers a vital injunction for industry and policymakers to protect and invest in this unique sector, in order to safeguard the future of festival revelry and of our planet. Read the More than Music report here

Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE, said “Live music is driven by passion. From the artists who create to the festival organisers who put together memorable, escapist experiences. And that passion means we tend to take a broader perspective on our actions than many other parts of the economy. While the festivals we deliver offer opportunities for collective discussion, learning and action. As an industry we understand our sustainability obligations and want to play our part in greening not just live music but wider society. Unfortunately, we do not operate in a vacuum and the multiple, often existential, challenges faced by festival organisers can mean compromises on sustainability measures when budgets simply will not allow action. LIVE’s manifesto, setting out our priorities as a sector, places sustainability high on our to do list. Through LIVE Green we have been able to support, showcase and develop world leading policies and procedures to reduce our environmental impact. Government has an opportunity to accelerate our work and support the festival sector through a cut in VAT on tickets and the provision of guidance and funding to drive the green transition. LIVE will be promoting this
report to policymakers. We hope they will read, process and act”.

Industry backs Juste Vote 24

With a General Election in under a month, the live music industry is throwing its weight behind Just Vote 24’s campaign to improve voter turnout by mobilising the younger generation. A third of 18–34 year olds don’t vote in the UK, but that’s set to change this year, with the ‘Crash the Party’ campaign buoyed by live music leaders and social media to educate young people on voter registration, qualifying ID, and polling day. LIVE welcomes this vibrant campaign against apathy.  

Remember to register to vote by 18th June, and apply for ID by 26th June, to have your say on the 4th.

LIVE Talks: discover the archive

This week, LIVE and over a hundred of the industry’s workforce heard from Rosie Turner, ADHD coach, on living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and how it can manifest in the workplace. Watch Rosie’s talk back here. 

This pride month, we’d like to draw your attention to the resources in our LIVE Talks archive which celebrate difference and queer identities. Come Play With Me’s session on LGBTQ+ inclusion offers an introduction to vocabularies, legislative frameworks, and structural discrimination. Meanwhile, Saskhia Menendez’ series of talks (part I and part II) is the place to go for a top-line education in Trans rights and gender theory as well as the Trans experience in the live music industry. 

Thanks to our committed partners AEG, Kilimanjaro, Live Nation, Serious, SJM, and Utilita Arena Birmingham. 

Sustainability champions Vision 2025 call for support to fund essential research

Vision 2025, the expert network enabling the outdoor events industry to tackle the climate crisis, has launched a crowdfunder to create the third edition of the Show Must Go On report. This essential piece of research promises an update on the climate progress of an industry with an important part to play in halting the disastrous effects of global heating and the destruction of the natural world. What’s more, the Show Must Go On promises to shape a streamlined climate strategy which will help the outdoor events industry towards its 2030 goals. 

In order to produce this essential guidance, experts at Vision 2025 call for funding via their crowdfunder, where donations will be matched by grant funding. The future of our industry depends on a healthy planet – do your part and donate here