Coronavirus: Over €1 billion in losses for summer festivals
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    Coronavirus: Over €1 billion in losses for summer festivals

    The Belgian music industry said it estimated the cancellation of summer festivals to cost them over €1 billion in losses. © Belga

    The live music industry in Belgium stands to lose more than €1 billion as a result of the cancellation of mass events until late summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    In an open letter, representatives of the sector called on the government to extend support measures until at least the end of the year.

    “The government’s decision to ban all Belgian music festivals up to and including August 31 has disastrous consequences for organisers, artists, and their [supporting industries],” the letter read.

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    Their appeal comes after Belgium’s National Security Council extended the current nationwide lockdown until 3 May and said that no mass events could take place before the end of August.

    The decision will be gutting for thousands of other workers in the sector, including suppliers, freelancers and the supporting catering industry, music collective VIB wrote.

    In the letter, the collective said that it fully respected the government’s decision and that public health remained paramount but said rapid action was needed to avoid an “economic and social battlefield.”

    “It has become so clear that the measures regarding temporary unemployment and for the self-employed will certainly have to be extended until the end of this year.”

    In the aftermath of the government’s announcement, a number of major summer festivals taking place in Belgium, such as Tomorrowland, Pukkelpop or Rock Werchter announced their 2020 editions would not be going forward.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times