Back To Live In Germany: A Little Bit Of Hope In A Desperate Situation

Waldbühne Berlin
– Waldbühne Berlin

Back To Live, the concert series promoted by Semmel Concerts at Berliner Waldbühne has kicked off, Sept. 3, with a concert by German Schlager star Roland Kaiser. 
In a press conference prior to the concert, Semmel Concerts CEO Dieter Semmelmann, and the president of Germany’s promoters association BDKV, Prof. Jens Michow, demonstrated that events at severely reduced capacities won’t help this industry return to normalcy.
Over the coming five week’s Berlin’s Waldbühne, which usually holds more than 22,000 spectators, will host concerts by major German acts, including Sido (Sept. 5), Helge Schneider (Sept. 6), and Vincent Weiss (Sept. 18). The capacity will be reduced to 5,000 to stay in line with government mandates regarding Covid.
The concerts were a way of reminding everyone of the importance of live culture in people’s lives, however, they also demonstrated that large-scale events cannot be held in an economically viable manner, according to a statement from Semmel Concerts.
The promoter, alongside BDKV and Waldbühne operator and Semmel Concerts parent company CTS Eventim, have come up with a paper containing a list of demands directed at the German government in order to facilitate an actual restart of this industry by April 2021.
To save an industry that employs some 160,000 people and generates revenues of around €6 billion ($7 billion), the professionals working in the sector will require a scenario for its reopening by November 2020 – a scenario that needs to be binding, mind you.
Waldbühne Berlin is supposed to reopen in September at limited capacity.
– Waldbühne Berlin is supposed to reopen in September at limited capacity.
Operator CTS Eventim has developed a safety concept.

According to the paper, the German government needs to come up with a “concrete date for the complete reopening,” so people can plan investments and marketing campaigns.

The complete reopening needs to happen on April 1, 2021, at the latest – without limits on capacities or differences amongst the local governments of Germany’s 16 individual states. The paper’s authors are banking on a vaccine being available by then.
Promoters also require consistent rules regarding hygiene, organization and tracking – but without distancing – for staging events even before the vaccine is out.
They also demand more monetary funds to cover the operating costs of live events businesses, to prevents its collapse, as well as effective help for artists and self-employed. 
If the lockdown of the events sector continues, more rescue packages will be needed.
Planning security was also paramount in order to keep partners like banks and insurance companies on board. 
And, most importantly, to be able to go on pre-sale around Christmas time, which is traditionally when around 40% of tickets for the following year are purchased in Germany.
“We therefore demand that the politically responsible enters into a dialogue with us and the other event sectors to bring a working group into being that will develop workable solution before it is too late,” the paper concludes.