Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu - Y Bumed Senedd

Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee - Fifth Senedd

19/11/2020

Aelodau'r Pwyllgor a oedd yn bresennol

Committee Members in Attendance

Carwyn Jones MS
David Melding MS
Helen Mary Jones MS
John Griffiths MS
Mick Antoniw MS

Y rhai eraill a oedd yn bresennol

Others in Attendance

Andy Warnock Undeb y Cerddorion
Musicians’ Union
John Rostron Making Music
Making Music
Neal Thompson FOCUS Wales
FOCUS Wales
Paul Carr Prifysgol De Cymru
University of South Wales
Spike Griffiths Prosiect Forté
Forté Project

Swyddogion y Senedd a oedd yn bresennol

Senedd Officials in Attendance

Angharad Roche Dirprwy Glerc
Deputy Clerk
Robin Wilkinson Ymchwilydd
Researcher

Cofnodir y trafodion yn yr iaith y llefarwyd hwy ynddi yn y pwyllgor. Yn ogystal, cynhwysir trawsgrifiad o’r cyfieithu ar y pryd. Lle mae cyfranwyr wedi darparu cywiriadau i’w tystiolaeth, nodir y rheini yn y trawsgrifiad.

The proceedings are reported in the language in which they were spoken in the committee. In addition, a transcription of the simultaneous interpretation is included. Where contributors have supplied corrections to their evidence, these are noted in the transcript.

Cyfarfu'r pwyllgor drwy gynhadledd fideo.

Dechreuodd y cyfarfod am 09:30.

The committee met by video-conference.

The meeting began at 09:30. 

1. Cyflwyniad, ymddiheuriadau, dirprwyon a datgan buddiannau
1. Introductions, apologies, substitutions and declarations of interest

Bore da, bawb, a chroeso cynnes i gyfarfod o Bwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu ein Senedd. Yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 34.19, dwi wedi gwahardd y cyhoedd rhag cael mynediad i'r cyfarfod er mwyn diogelu iechyd y cyhoedd. Mae'r cyfarfod yn cael ei ddarlledu yn fyw ar Senedd.tv a phawb yn ymuno drwy ffurf rithiol. Bydd trawsgrifiad o'r cyfarfod yn cael ei gyhoeddi fel arfer. Ar wahân i'r pethau y mae'n rhaid inni eu gwneud yn wahanol gan ein bod ni'n cyfarfod yn rhithiol, mae'r Rheolau Sefydlog yn aros yr un peth fel arfer. Os am unrhyw reswm dwi'n gorfod gadael y cyfarfod neu mae connectivity fi yn mynd, mae David Melding, yn garedig iawn, wedi derbyn y gwahoddiad i gadeirio dros dro nes fy mod i'n trio ailymuno. Gaf i ofyn a oes unrhyw ddatganiadau o fudd gan fy nghyd-Aelodau? Nac oes. Felly, gyda hynny o ragymadrodd—

A very good morning to you all and a warm welcome to this meeting of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee of the Senedd. In accordance with Standing Order 34.19, I have determined that the public are excluded from attending the committee's meeting in order to protect public health. The meeting, however, is being broadcast live on Senedd.tv and all participants are joining virtually. A transcript of the meeting will be published as usual. Aside from the procedural adaptations relating to conducting proceedings remotely, all other Standing Order requirements remain in place. If, for any reason, I drop out of the meeting because of connectivity issues, David Melding has kindly agreed to temporarily chair whilst I seek to rejoin the meeting. May I ask Members if there are any declarations of interest? There are none. 

Thank you very much, Mick. 

So, un datganiad o fudd. Gwnawn ni recordio hynny. 

So, there was one declaration of interest, and that will be recorded. 

So, we'll record that declaration of interest. 

2. COVID-19: effaith y pandemig ar gerddoriaeth fyw
2. COVID-19: impact of the outbreak on live music

A gyda hynny, gwnawn ni symud at eitem 2, sef impact y coronafeirws ar gerddoriaeth fyw. Dwi'n falch iawn o groesawu pedwar tyst i'r cyfarfod. Gwnaf i jest ofyn i chi gyflwyno eich hunain. Gwnaf i ddechrau—. Os dŷch chi'n gallu dweud pwy ŷch chi ac o ba sefydliad. Gwnaf i ddechrau gyda'r person cyntaf o fy mlaen i, sef John Rostron.

So we will now move to item 2 on our agenda, the impact of coronavirus on live music. I'm very pleased to welcome four witnesses, and I will just ask you to introduce yourselves. If you could tell us who you are and who you represent. So, I will start with the first person I see on the screen, John Rostron. 

John, if you can just introduce yourself. If we can unmute—. There we go. 

Bore da, pawb. Sorry, just unmuting. I'm John Rostron. I am the executive chair of the Association of Independent Promoters, an organisation that looks after, as it says on the tin, independent promoters from across the UK. I'm the Wales manager of Making Music, a UK organisation that looks after leisure-time music groups in the UK. I manage Wales. I'm also the co-founder of the Welsh Music Prize, which is streaming tonight at 7 o'clock until 8 o'clock, by coincidence. So we're getting ready for that. It won't be happening in a building, it'll be happening in your living room. 

Wow, that's good timing. A great time for a plug. Andy, Andy Warnock, if you can just introduce yourself. 

Bore da. Good morning, everyone. I'm Andy, I'm the regional organiser for the Musicians' Union in Wales and south-west England. The Musicians' Union is a trade union for professional musicians, with about 32,000 members across the UK.

Thank you, Andy. Spike, if you can introduce yourself. 

Bore da. Good morning, everyone. My name's Spike Griffiths. I'm a youth music development officer, predominantly working in south Wales, and that enables me to work with young people from 16 to 25. The projects I run are the young promoters' network, the Forté project and also a new digital project called Beacons. 

Thank you. Of course, Spike and I knew each other in a previous existence, when I was running a national youth work charity. So, I'm very familiar with Spike's work.

Neal, os gallwch chi gyflwyno'ch hunan. 

Neal, if you could introduce yourself. 

Diolch, Helen. My name is Neal Thompson, I'm the co-founder of an event called FOCUS Wales, which is a music industry showcase festival that showcases talent from Wales, so domestically. The event usually takes place in May every year, up in Wrexham in north Wales. And we also host showcases for Welsh music internationally. So, at events like South by Southwest in Texas and various events in Canada, and various others around the world. 

Well, thank you all very much for joining us. 

Diolch yn fawr iawn am ymuno â ni. Os ydych chi'n hapus, awn ni'n syth i mewn i gwestiynu, drwy ddechrau gyda Carwyn Jones. 

Thank you very much for joining us. If you're happy, we'll move immediately to questions, and we'll begin with Carwyn Jones. 

Diolch, Cadeirydd. Bore da, bawb. Good morning, everybody. Three questions from me. The first question, really, is: what is the state of each of your individual sectors, and what do you make of the wider state of the industry at the moment?

Who would like to start? I should have said earlier, if you want to come in, just show like that. I haven't quite worked out how to use the virtual hand, so just give me a physical wave. Who would like to start on Carwyn's question? John.

09:35

I'm happy to start. From a promoter's perspective, music promoters were first to close, and probably will be the last to reopen. So, they kind of got wind of COVID early, because audiences were getting hesitant, artists were getting hesitant, because an artist playing in Wales isn't just playing Wales, they're probably on a big world, UK or European tour. So, promoters—all of their shows shut down. Most of them haven't been able to do any kind of activity for the entire time. All of their work, all of their income, comes from ticket income. That's what they do. They have no other income. So, they've had nothing. They've been wholly reliant on trying to access funding and other financial support. Forty-seven per cent of our members are freelancers or self-employed promoters. So, we have companies who've been able to access different levels of support because they have a company—business rates relief or using the furlough scheme and so on—but the 47 per cent that are self-employed have struggled harder to find financial support.

The other element about promoting is that, once things do come back, whenever they do come back, promoting is about planning things way in advance. You're busy working right now for something that might not happen for six months. So, the return to work is quite a long way away, because you don't see your income until the shows and events happen. So, promoters, alongside a few other people in that sector, have been really hard hit because income has dropped to zero.

With the leisure time user groups that I look after with Making Music, it's been similar, in as much as, obviously, there's been no concerts. In particular with the leisure time groups, the age range of people is really wide. We have quite young people, but the majority of our people that are in the groups, the performers, are in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. So, for a whole host of reasons, those people aren't out and about; they can't perform. So, they are attempting rehearsals, but, obviously, as you can imagine, rehearsals are very difficult for all kinds of reasons, including the fact that for a lot of my members it's choir based or choral singing, lots of brass instruments, wind instruments, which are, at the moment, considered to be quite dangerous on the scale of risk. So, for those people, at the moment, rehearsals are perhaps online, but in a very limited, changed form. Perhaps they're communicating online and meeting online, but not able to really get back together and do what their purpose is all about. 

Thanks, everyone. I think, across the board, devastating, basically, is the impact, but it's not completely even. A lot of our members—the vast majority—rely on live music for some element of their income, and likely a significant element for a lot of them. As John said, for us, as promoters, live music has essentially stopped. We've done some impact polls, and in our most recent one, a third of members are considering abandoning their career in music, and another third weren't sure. Half the musicians, about, have been forced to look for work outside the music industry. Seventy per cent are unable to do more than a quarter of their work, and about have no work at all. So, those kind of stats show the type of impact. 

But, like I said, it's not even. I think, in March, around the first lockdown, and even before that for international work, things kind of just stopped. But there has been a gradual sense of people trying to adapt. Music education has adapted to some extent. People who are teaching are able to do some of that online. Their income will have dropped—I don't think anyone who is teaching is going to be doing all of their teaching—but some of that can be done online. In terms of live, people have been doing things like streaming, but I think probably all of us would agree that there's just not the same money in that as in live music at all, and there are all sorts of technical issues that can't always be overcome with that. 

Orchestras have been hugely impacted. Members who work with amateur music societies, like what John was mentioning, have been impacted. The BBC orchestras have been some of the earliest to get back to work, as you might expect. So, again, it's not completely even there. But that's in a very different way to normal. So, it's not been completely consistent across the board. It's really bad. There's not a way of sugar-coating that; it is just pretty devastating. 

One of the things I've been privileged to be able to participate in over the past few months is the Wales event industry advisory group, which is a pool of various different events that get together and get an opportunity to talk to officials, and to Ministers occasionally as well, which has been very useful. I think it's just probably worth me highlighting, in the context of the question, the kind of things that we've been discussing.

So, as I said, it's quite a diverse bunch. The bigger group represents events across the board really. That includes business events and sports and so on, and I am part of a sub-group of that, which loosely represents arts and culture. As I said, we get the opportunity to speak to Eluned Morgan and Dafydd Elis-Thomas and the group there consists of quite a few different events—the sub-group that I'm in. So, it takes in the Royal Welsh Show, the Eisteddfod, the stadiums—the Principality Stadium is in this particular group. The bit I think I wanted to highlight there, which does have a trickle-down effect across the industry, I think, is that, obviously, there are immediate problems facing that part of the industry—events and the major events and the signature events, as they're known—but there's also the knock-on to consider there. So, when we're thinking about signature events, some of these iconic brand events for Wales are also very intrinsically linked to the visitor, tourism and hospitality economies as well. It's the long-term effect that this is going to have on them.

As John pointed out there, promoters are working on events that aren't going to happen for six months. The thing I think we were highlighting most recently in this group is that, even during this complete uncertainty, a lot of these events are going to need to start thinking about these signature events, which are six, seven, eight months away, now in order to start planning them, in order for them to actually happen. So, one of the things to consider is that, further down the line, the consequences of this particular situation now could mean that we lose another year of the things that Wales is so well known for, is familiar with and that draw in quite a lot of money and tourists, to be honest. We could have a year without an Eisteddfod, another year without a Royal Welsh Show, another year without a Green Man Festival et cetera. So, just to make that point at this point, I think, is relevant.

09:40

Can you hear me?

I'd just like to talk about the work that we do with young people, ultimately. In Forté, we work with 16 to 25-year-olds. All our work is mainly around close proximity and physical meet-up, which, of course, restrictions haven't allowed, so it's been really tough. For us, like most people-focused organisations, we've had to change the way we work and change the offer of our project. And inevitably, like everyone else, we've migrated online in order to maintain that support.

It's been a difficult period for the young people—increasingly difficult for them because they see an entire industry in turmoil; there's a prolonged pause. There's been no opportunity for them to present their music in a live context, a chance for them to develop a live audience, to build a live profile or to gain any income from their live performances. So, what we're seeing is that young people who we support are feeling anxious—more anxious than they did before the outbreak. And I think that's compounded by the concerns around the future of the sector, the lack of interaction with other musicians and audiences, and generally those financial worries, inevitably, that they're going to feel. So, I feel for those young people, because as they were steadily building up their profile and their audiences pre COVID, COVID came and just really hit them in the ribs and they're not able to follow that trajectory.

So, we have young people now who have turned to other sectors to keep them financially afloat. I think of our young people now working for Amazon delivery, Tesco delivery, and I also see young people who were once in bands and have given up that idea of being in a band because they can no longer rehearse or meet up. So, the sheer weight of this period has been exhausting for them and I think that's one of the reasons why we have really tailored our support to looking after their well-being, their mental health and just increasing the one-to-one support that we can offer online, whether that be through us or through mentors across the industry. So, that's where we're at.

09:45

Thanks for those answers. The second question from me is: once the pandemic ends, how easy will it be to restart live music?

Who wants to kick off with that? Andy. Can we unmute Andy?

There we go. That's an interesting question. I think it's hard to answer, in some ways. I think the first thing is that it is completely unpredictable. When the pandemic ends, none of us—. We're all amateur epidemiologists, aren't we? But none of us—well, certainly I don't know the answer to that. I think there's two sides to it. One side is the practical side of the industry, and as John mentioned earlier on, another side is the consumer confidence aspect of it, and those might well be separate to some extent; having the ability to put concerts and gigs back on is different to having the audiences coming back. As John said, I think whenever things do start reopening more, there's going to be a lag; I think that's a problem both in terms of when money starts coming back into the companies and the workers, because there is a delay, and also in terms of people being able to invest, potentially, or commit to actually putting things on.

As Neal mentioned, the bigger the event, almost, the more of a problem that is, potentially, because you've got a lot of forward planning to do and you've got costs that you've got to commit to well before you're going to get any money back—six months, even more. And I think at the moment, the problem is what are we going to be able to do next year, 2021. What's going to happen? Is anything going to be able to happen? I think that's a big concern, as Neal was saying, in this group that we're both on, and more broadly across the industry: is there going to be anything that can happen next year? What kind of things will be able to happen? If we have another year without the major festivals, without some gigs and things like that to be able to happen, that is going to have a really serious impact. I think the question will be can people carry on till the year after, both in terms of businesses and workers. I've got a real concern about workers leaving the industry, as I think some of those stats demonstrated.

And so, it's all unpredictable, but I think it's going to be quite difficult. Again, it's not going to be even; it'll be easier in some places than others. I think we've got a particular concern about grass-roots music venues, a lot of us. I think it's easy to see that those will be most difficult to get back, and the smaller the venue, and the more crammed in the people normally are, the more difficult it is to comply with social distancing, or open as normal, compared to outdoor events, which might be able to adapt a bit more easily. And then, there's those two stages—opening maybe in some form with social distancing, and what can we do there, and how long is it going to take to go back to normal. So, that's not really a specific answer to your question, but I'm not sure there is a simple answer.

Following on from that, really, it's twofold; I think so long as the infrastructure is there, then we're going to have live music to go back to. And I think it's a good point to mention now; I think a lot of the things and packages that Wales has put in place to protect music, certainly in the short term, have been great and obviously having a fantastic effect, and maintaining businesses that are kind of on the shelf or dormant at the moment. But it's the longer-term effects we have to consider as well. I think that's what we do need to look at. So, echoing Andrew as well there: it's the knock-on effects that we can predict and we're in a position to do something about now as well that I think are important.

I think it's worth mentioning at this point that when we say, 'How easy will it be to get back once it's over?'—I mean, there are a couple of things in there, aren't there? As Andrew points out, for the smaller venues, it's not going to be a case of it being over and then we're back to business. That's going to be a very slow kind of slide into that, isn't it? Because the restrictions are going to drop off gradually for those, you would imagine, for the smaller places. They're probably going to still have to have various restrictions and capacity restrictions and all kinds of money they're going to have to spend on extra equipment and infrastructure and that'll probably only tail off, rather than have a swift end. So, I think it's important to consider how we support those parts of the business, those parts of the infrastructure, to land gently into returning to work.

I also think that a good point to mention at this point is why we should also be planning on continuing that as well. So, the good work that we’re doing now is helping the industry, realising the value of the industry, looking a little bit forward, being in a privileged position to be able to see what we might lose if we don't act now, and the value of that is, obviously, brought home, and the advantage of being able to see it and to do something about it at this point. But also, once everything's over and once we've managed to land successful there, we also need to continue to look after that particular part of the infrastructure, and we continue to nurture these smaller venues, realise the value and the economic value of the bigger events, and maybe think about how we look after the Welsh music industry, going forward, using what we’ve learned from this experience.

09:50

Your question was about when the pandemic's over, which is definitely one thing, but I think that the way that everybody’s aligning themselves in the sector is to say, 'The coronavirus is something that is around and it will probably be around, certainly, for the rest of our lives in some form, but hopefully it'll become just a small little thing that we go and get a jab for. So, what we can do? Let's live with it. What can we do whilst living with it?' And I think that a conversation such as this is about bringing the needs of the sector together as close to public health needs as possible, and trying to marry those two things up and live and deliver side by side. So, even during the summer, one of our promoter members ran, for weeks, very successful outdoor concerts—this was in Newcastle in the north-east. Hugely successful—2,500 people a night—and the only real big live activity that happened in all of the UK, and he showed that it could be done. However, on his final weekend, the north-east was put into lockdown and he lost his last three days. And that kind of demonstrated what you can and can't do if you think about living with it. Wales is renowned for great weather and we've got great outdoor spaces, and there's no reason at all why we can't have those kind of events happening from the spring next year.

We'll want to say a little bit more about how we might come out of the current restrictions in response to some more questions. Anything you want to add, Spike, around how easy it's going to be to restart when it's over?

Well, only to echo what's already been said, in terms of consumer confidence, I think that would fuel a restart, and there will be different shows with different confidence levels. You know, young people will gravitate to smaller venues with local line-ups, but then you look at genres like folk, classic and rock, they depend on older audiences who are, currently, at most risk. So, I think we also need to think about the hardship suffered over this period and the impact on people's disposable income. I think there'll be a flurry of rescheduled shows, and maybe shows that have been rescheduled about three or four times now, so it's going to be a crammed marketplace. It might not be easy for promoters to sell those shows as quickly as they could, so that's going to be factor. And also, I think lots of people have—. Gaps have emerged, haven't they, in the employment, and they've gone elsewhere, so the working situation will change. I know Motorpoint have let go 40 of their 45 full-time staff. Some ticket agencies have gone or gone bust or are running on autopilot. So, all that is going to take time to come back. And I think, for me, one of the most important things is rehiring those skilled workers in the industry—that's going to take time to repair, as well.

Thanks, Chair. The final question from me, then: how concerned are you that, post pandemic, we'll end up with fewer festivals and fewer venues? 

Just quickly, then, I think I've probably covered that in the bits that I've said already, but if we pay no mind to the possibility of—. The longer this goes on, the more chance there is of there being a long-term effect on those places and stuff that we need to turn our attention to. So, yes, there is a very real danger of that, and I think it's a case of—. The assistance and packages that are available now are, obviously, great, but we are in a good position to be able to look forward and project what might happen. So, we know we can get ourselves in a good position to make sure that it doesn't happen, if you know what I mean. 

Thanks. Just briefly, yes, we're very concerned. The support so far has been good very broadly, but there is concern. Also, I think the thing that I'd add, and which hasn't been mentioned so far, is about the music making that takes place outside the biggest, almost formalised spaces. Of course, that's going to be affected too—you know, those pubs or restaurants or bars that maybe aren't categorised strictly as grass-roots music venues or strictly as venues, but do host a lot of live music. Similarly, I think that it's likely that there will be some impact on community music, which John looks after and our members kind of deal with as well. So, yes, I'm very concerned, in short.

09:55

I can see John and Spike agreeing with that. Did either of you want to add anything? Yes. That's really helpful. John.

I would just say that, yes, like Andy, we are concerned about the music makers and the promoters and the people who can make these things happen. Interestingly, with venues, whereas previously 100 people could fit in a 100-cap venue, if we were to re-emerge to do music now and have 100 people, they would need to be in a 500-cap venue because of social distancing. So, actually, the buildings that we might need in the short term are very different to what we perhaps needed before. That's all really difficult to contemplate.

We just look after the promoters and the music groups in making music. So, fortunately, like venues—. We want there to be venues, but thankfully we don't have to think about controlling who those venues are. But, the spaces that we need to go into right now need to be bigger with more ventilation, for example. So, that's the conundrum. That's the problem.

Thank you. I will turn to David Melding now, if I may. David.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. It's been a very interesting discussion. I would just add one thing. The scientific evidence at the moment seems to be shifting to a highly viable and effective vaccine—a much, much better outcome than, even three or four months ago, we were anticipating. That actually does mean that we would not only have very effective cover, in terms of if you get the infection, but there will be herd immunity, or there is the prospect of it anyway, if enough people get vaccinated. If they are not spreading—and we don't quite know that yet—. If that's also true—that you don’t spread the disease, as well as not suffer from the symptoms—then the vaccination could take us to a very different place than where we are, like with the flu vaccine.

So, this is my reflection. I think that one of the biggest challenges that your sector is going to face is an absolute surge in demand for activity, and that may cause a structural shift to large venues. I can see that happening. But, if we look at the last time that we had some really strange disturbance in our life patterns, with the second world war, in the late 1940s the level of spectator sport was absolutely incredible. There were vast, record crowds in football and rugby matches and other communal sports as well. In an odd way, the challenge will also be, I think, that the public will want an awful lot of activity of a really good quality and in a variety of venues, so that might be something for us to reflect on. 

We've basically just paused everything in Wales. Now, other countries have not. Even around the UK, there has been a bit more activity, but in some European countries they really have tried to at least allow some activity so that musicians and promoters and all of the people in the industry remain match fit, as it were, and at least the public are used to going—in some controlled way, anyway—to the occasional event. So, do you see practice elsewhere as something that, even now, as we possibly inch towards an interim stage, we should be looking at?

Yes. I think that it depends on the type of activity. So, with leisure-time groups, there are no fees involved. There's no money involved. So, they can go back to activity as soon as the places and spaces are right for them. And, like I said, right now, the groups require perhaps just—. A group of 30 in a brass band or an ensemble just need a much bigger room than they needed before. They need more ventilation. And there's always this caveat at the back, of course, that it's also down to the individual and their own health needs, and with those groups there tends to be an older membership, so we have to consider that. But they can go back with just—. You know, you can look at your legislation right now and some of those groups can meet in Wales right now, for rehearsals at least. But when you move to the 'music industry'—the rock and pop bands—actually at the heart of it is an economic problem, because the model of live music is not fit for purpose. We've heard about the pressures on grass-roots venues, and that's partly economic, because of the whole way, which we haven't got time for here, the music sector is structured.

But some things that we could do that would ease in that area, if we want to see a return to live, would be things like considering—. We need insurance, you know. We need an insurance policy that can cover COVID-19, for artists and audience and for promoters, and so on. Or perhaps, on local lockdowns, that Wales isn't going to go into any more local lockdowns—perhaps to consider that. Perhaps we need to consider the extra-capacity space. If a band that can sell 100 tickets needs to be in a 500-cap room, who's going to cover that gap? Or maybe a 'seat out to eat out'—no, that doesn't work. But, you know, that kind of scheme might work. Or maybe there's also some thinking about ticket backing for the public—some audience confidence that if they buy their ticket but they feel like perhaps they can't go, perhaps they test negative or they're concerned, that there's some mechanism by which they feel that they could still buy their ticket but know they'll be okay if they don’t go. And also, we want fast test and trace systems, for those people that want to go to an event to feel confident that they can go in and we can deliver. So, those are things that we could do that we've seen elsewhere and that would allow, for those who want to go back—artists, audiences, promoters, venues—that they could go back.

10:00

Thank you. Andy, you wanted to come in. We're having trouble hearing, Andy.

Sorry, my fault. Yes, I think this is the really difficult question at the moment, and I think the first thing to say is that I think our members, probably, on the whole broadly understand the Welsh Government's cautious approach. I think there are good reasons behind that. Having said that, the fact that all live music has stopped is clearly having a big impact, so we do need to look at what can happen. I mean, I think, a few things—. Firstly, I would say that there's been a tendency over the last six months to treat the industry as one block, and I would say we really need to look at the nuance around it. This has been a common theme of discussion—you've probably heard it yourselves—but, you know, there are arts venues, arts centres, that can open their cinemas but can't open their theatre spaces, and I think there are some interesting things to consider there around what the actual, really specific public health concerns are and how we can address them. What can open?

Outdoor spaces are going to be much easier than indoor. It's going to be quite difficult, I think, to open the grass-roots music venues, but are there alternatives we could look at? Are there things that could be invested in? Even if things have to be done very differently, is there a way of doing things very differently, like the concerts that John mentioned up in the north-east? That was a very different model. Are there ways—? You know, can we use different spaces—spaces that Cadw has, maybe, or things like that—to do things, particularly in the summer, differently? I think a lot of us are keen to get any tests that the Government wants to do happening quite quickly, because those should be isolated, small things with a specific audience that you can track if you need to. I think we want to get, even if the general opening takes longer, those up and running. I think it's important to recognise that from when the sector is given permission to restart, as it were, there's going to be a delay because people are going to have to prepare. And also, again, exploring those other alternatives—John mentioned some of them—that we're interested in, and the idea of those costs, essentially, especially for big events, is there a way that the Government can help with those, so that if there has to be a cancellation later on, maybe they don't lose out in quite the same way? And there are also, almost, more technical solutions. I know some venues are looking at ideas to do with misting and ways that you can sanitise the venue, for want of a better word. So, I think we need to really look in detail at all those different possible solutions and the different nuances about, 'Let's open what we can as early as we can, even if we have to treat things slightly differently.' Ultimately, I think the financial viability is definitely an issue. It's different across different sectors. Some places with arts council support, for instance, that are less dependent on revenue from tickets, will be able to open earlier, and I think there's a sense in which we can leave that—I'd like to see that left up to the industry, in a sense. As long as the support's there if you can't open, let's leave it to industry; if you can, then do—as long as the support's there if you can't.

10:05

Yes. Just a couple of things Andrew said there. So, just picking up on everything you were saying there, David, yes, hopefully, there will be a huge surge in popularity when everyone's chomping at the bit to get back out again, when we can. But, overall, that is—. Once we know when a vaccine will be available, we'll be able to predict when that might happen. So, all of that is going to be at a certain point in the future, and, reading the coverage I've been reading, we can't reasonably expect the country to be in a position where people are going to be able to go out again in any kind of stretch of normality until the end of the summer, at the earliest, really, I think, is what we're reading, isn't it? But the advantage of that is that at least we have an idea. And I think, just as Andrew was saying there, certain sectors of the industry may be able to return sooner than others. What that says to me is that once we have a clear idea of when a mass vaccination might be possible, and when it might actually take some sort of real effect, then, I think, is the time when we move from what I would say is, quite rightly, the cautious approach that Wales has taken to more of a solid road-map approach, with some specific dates in there to work to.

And I appreciate that the UK Government might be criticised for picking dates and then cancelling them, whereas Wales has chosen to wait and be more sort of assured with decisions when there's more information available, but I think once we do have a set idea of when those things are going to be in place and we can be pretty sure when things are going to start to function, then maybe that's the time when we start to put a road map in place and then we do look to the industry to advise what that road map is along the way.

I feel awful. I just want to disagree. We don't want any date, because they're really unhelpful. We want to align with public health. The industry tried to make a date of saying we'll be back in business by 6 April next year. It was incredibly unhelpful, because it quickly became apparent that we wouldn't be back in business in the way they thought they would by 6 April, and now they need to realign the asks that they need of the kind of support that they need. I think it's also unhelpful to talk about going back to normal, because there won't be a sense of normal for such a long, long time. Neal works on an international event. If your people are travelling internationally, it's going to be a long time before they have to stop quarantining at the other side, or before an artist will truly think about putting together a global tour. That will be very different from a level of activity where a band might just want to tour around Wales. And we're seeing in the UK, actually, quite a lot of planned UK social-distanced tours for next year, where an artist knows, 'I can go in a bubble with my team for a few weeks and I can tour the UK'. So, I get what Neal's saying, but I think, when we're talking about dates, we should just think about, 'When public health is at this point, this is the kind of activity; when health is at this point, this is the kind of activity.' That's what I mean, rather than picking a date.

That's what I was saying, John, to be honest. Sorry, if I've not made it clear enough. So, what I meant then was—I probably shouldn't have said a date, in that case. So, I think what I meant was—sorry to go at it again—when we're in a position, a more assured position. So, what I was responding to, really, was what David was saying about a vaccine. So, I agree, I don't think there's any point setting any dates now, because there's no certainty. But if a vaccine and the distribution of it is going to provide an element of certainty, I think that's when we need to start thinking about that kind of plan, was what I was saying. By all means continue to disagree with that. So, I think, really, the essence of what I was trying to say was more of a solid plan, then, to work to that has a bit of a timescale to it. Because, just going back to the things I was saying before, we need to be mindful of forward planning time that's required for events to take place a year from now. When there's more certainty, I think then is really the time. So, really, the essence of what I was saying, that is really the time when we should look to the industry to start putting a more cohesive plan to open—

I think that's helpful. And if I can just say, much as we might like to, we can't allow this to become a dialogue between witnesses. So, can we just—? If you need to come in, can you come in through the Chair, because otherwise—well, otherwise, it's chaos, isn't it? Andy, I know you want to come in on this, and then we'll need to move on to the next set of David's questions.

10:10

Thanks. I've just a very brief thing, and this is a big topic, so I don't intend to get into it, but we could do with a surge in demand, to be honest, at some point, because the topic that isn't really being talked about much is that Brexit is about to happen, and that's going to disrupt so many artists, members—it's going to disrupt the whole industry. So, to be honest, a surge in demand in the UK would be very welcome to make up for the inevitable shortfall and problems that are going to be there.

Thank you. Thank you all for that. David, can I bring you back in?

Yes, I'll just ask one final, well, two-part question, because I think we do need to move on, and I think some of the things I was going to cover, by inference, have already been referred to, like the need to communicate restrictions more effectively, because, sometimes, they're not quite as all-encompassing as is assumed, for instance, on rehearsal. Incidentally, I completely agree with what Neal said—that, even if the vaccine is going to be very effective, and we've got reasonable grounds for hope now, next summer is going to be a COVID summer and not a summer in which we're having a robust recovery. So, I think all the planning has to be on that assumption.

So, I wonder, between now and when we start to see the vaccine out in the general population, not just the targeted part that we will want to cover first, would it be useful to end the 10 p.m. curfew? Is that a real problem, and so, as we're trying to preserve as much capacity as possible, would that help? And then the second point—this is controversial and it's not on my list; I think I'm going to test the patience of the Chair, but I'm going to ask it—if the vaccine is completely effective, in terms of it means you will not spread it as well as you will not suffer the severe symptoms, would you think it appropriate for some form of vaccination certificate to be required for people attending mass music events, or is that something—it's one step beyond test and trace, as it were, and having your details registered—or is this something that you'd find very troubling?

So, the 10 p.m. curfew and possibly should we need to prove that we've been vaccinated when the time comes? Spike, and then I've got John.

I'll just touch upon the 10 p.m. curfew. It's probably stating the obvious—I don't think the 10 p.m. curfew works in any way, it doesn't really make a difference. Reducing late-night behaviours was obviously probably at the core of the decision, but it's not really going to stop the transmission right now. It's probably driven people more into their homes for late-night drinks, and that's where the transmission's probably at its most rife.

So, the other thing, really, is also about the venues themselves. They don't start going until 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., and that's allowing just one hour for entertainment or for people to enjoy themselves. If you think about someone working an average day, finishing at 5.55 p.m., they're going to have one or two hours going out, so it's not really viable. It might work for pubs, of course, with the 11 o'clock curfew, but venues don't come alive until beyond 10 p.m., so, yes.

That's something that's been put to us by other witnesses, and also that the 10 o'clock curfew reflects an older person's way of going out, whereas lots of young people are not going out until 9 p.m., 9.30 p.m., and that doesn't necessarily mean to say that their behaviour will be any worse. John.

From our members, the promoter members, about the 10 p.m. curfew, what they've seen in, I can't remember which country, I think it's Spain, is that you have to be in the venue by 10 o'clock, and the venue can't let anybody else in after 10 p.m., but the activity can remain, and that's the best suggestion that I've heard. Actually, as I used to be a concert promoter, I would have welcomed everybody having to be in by 7 o'clock, because the earlier they're in, the more bands they see and the more they spend on the bar. So, let's have a 7 p.m. curfew, get them in, and they can stay and have a good night.

In terms of the vaccine certificate, our view from a promoters' perspective is there are already lots of things that you may or may not choose to do as a promoter or as a ticket seller or as a venue terms of ID, and different things that you might ask of somebody when they arrive at a venue. So, we've been to a bar and sometimes they check if you're 18, 21, 25, and some of these things are compulsory, but some of them are optional, to show an extra level of protection for your clientele. So, from a promoter's perspective, we wouldn't want to see it as a compulsory thing, but anything that adds to that ability to give everybody reassurance that this is going to be a safe place, if there are ways of providing that, like test and trace, 'I've had a vaccine'—all of these things will add to the confidence of someone to buy a ticket, or for an artist to perform and so on and so forth, and that's what we're looking for in our events.

10:15

Okay. Andy, you wanted to come in, and Neal, if you've anything to add. Andy.

Thank you, yes. I'll maybe take a slightly different viewpoint on this, I suppose, which is that the 10 p.m. curfew clearly has an effect, obviously, and it's a change in how things work, it's a restriction, but I guess my thoughts would be first of all that, even if that changes, there are still going to be restrictions on capacity and there's going to be social distancing, and there are going to be things like that. So, that's not a sudden—I'm not saying John and Spike were suggesting that it was, necessarily, but that's not a solution. Even if you do that, then you're still operating at half capacity, probably, at best—a lot of them far below that.

I guess my other thought is actually, in some ways, I would like to see more things like the 10 p.m. curfew in some ways. What we see with the hospitality and tourism industries is that they've been allowed to open, but with restrictions. What we see in the culture/arts sector is that things just aren't open at all in terms of audiences. So, I would actually argue that—not every venue, not every business, because a lot of them are different, but some, I think, would rather open in some way with some restrictions than just be closed completely, and I think I'd like to see more—. Again, I understand why there's been a cautious approach, but I think I'd maybe like to see more conversations about what things could be put in place as mitigations, while allowing some reopening. For example, I have had some conversations around hospitality. I think that the cinemas/theatres things is maybe a thing that a lot of us are thinking about, also hospitality—could a theatre open its cafe or restaurant space and have performances with people seated? There have been venues that, before, were looking at having people seated, just with a DJ. At the moment that's still not permitted, as far as I understand it, unless someone's about to correct me. So, could things like that happen? That's still going to be a problem. That's not going to be financially viable just on its own, so there'll need to be support, but could we do some things just to get them back on their feet? [Interruption.] Oh, sorry.

Concerning vaccines, my concern on a vaccine would be that the other bit is what would be the effect on workers. That's potentially problematic, if you get a vaccine passport for workers and you can't go to work unless you've had a vaccine—that is potentially really significant for people. Nobody's mentioned that, but that's just a concern in the back of my head. If you can't go on a tour unless you've had a vaccine, where you are in the queue has a big effect, and there might need to be support in relation to that. Sorry, Chair.

So, I think if I'm hearing what you're saying, Andy, if people had to have a vaccine to be able to work, you'd have to make sure that they could get the vaccine. Yes, that there's a—. Neal, I think I saw you agreeing when Andy was saying about perhaps venues being able to open with restrictions.

Yes. Again, my core points would be this kind of looking ahead and planning ahead, and then, as well, leaning on the industry for the advice, really. How best to reopen the industry is by asking them, I think. I know there is a little bit of friction around that issue of—to put it simply, I guess, that pubs can open, but events can't, so people who organise crowds or organise gatherings of people with rules, with some very strict rules, and have to adhere to very strict rules themselves in order to be able to do that, can't organise gatherings.

However, people are allowed to gather in places that may seem a little bit more random and unregulated, such as pubs, beer gardens, et cetera. So, I know there's a little bit of friction from the industry side there, and perhaps a little bit of a desire, of more of a desire, then, to say, 'Well, if that can happen, then why can't we put together our own stipulations for how we would organise an event with mitigation in a similar way?' I guess the point of that being so that we can begin a recovery process for the industry.

So, I think that very specific question about COVID passports or vaccination passports was what we were alluding to there, wasn't it? Again, that is quite a big, broad question, but it is one that should be asked of the industry, really—how feasible that is, and what they would need in order to enact that across the sector, really—how much resource that would require, how much support, how much take-up. It's really a question to ask of us, I think, and as part of a broader set of advice that should come from this side of things, really, to inform how reopening and return should work. 

10:20

That's an interesting point. Thank you. I'm conscious that we've got a couple of other areas of questioning that we need to cover, and we're running a little bit over time. If we do need to run this session on another five or 10 minutes, witnesses, are you able to stay? Can you stay another few minutes? Is that okay? We may not need to, because it depends on how long it takes us to get through the next bits, but if that's okay with Members, then I'll bring John Griffiths in to ask some questions around Welsh Government support.

Diolch yn fawr, Cadeirydd. Yes, perhaps we could deal with that support in a little bit more detail than we have up to date. I think a couple of you have touched upon the support in terms of how it has been quite significant and impressive, but if we could just get into some of the detail. With Welsh Government and Creative Wales particularly, how effective do you think the support provided there has been? Who might start?

I'll take that one on first, shall I? I think, in some ways, the jury is still out, because I think at the moment they're still processing some of the cultural recovery fund applications. I don't think anything's been published on what's finally happened there. I guess my broad view would be I think the amount is good. I think, broadly, it's good, basically. The amount has now gone beyond the consequential that came from England, and there was some support even before that formal cultural recovery fund was put in place.

From a union point of view, we were really pleased to see the freelance fund. That was a really important thing for us—I don't think just for us; I think a lot of the industry were concerned about that. And I think, looking at it in a big-picture sense, that is very positive. Our members in England cannot access an equivalent to the freelancer fund. There have been some issues, it's not ideal, but it was there and that was really good. I think what we need to start thinking about is what do we do from spring onwards, April onwards. The cultural recovery fund, technically, I think, only goes up to the end of March. So, as we've been discussing, we're not going to be back to normal suddenly then, so we do need to start looking further ahead. 

That's helpful. Anyone else? Neal—. I'll bring in John, and then Neal, because I know you've been quite involved, you said, with some consultations. So John and then Neal. 

Yes, it's worth mentioning—. In fact, I think all of us are on the—. So, Creative Wales, look, I'll say hats off to them. They were out of the door, they were a new team, they came out fast. I watched the evidence session with the venues, but we were really aware of how quick they were to go and try and support those venues at a point that was the best in the UK. Wales was top of the list. We're all, all four of us, on—they set up a stakeholder group, a small group of 10 or 12 of us, and all four of us are on it. We meet regularly and they consult with us regularly, and they're asking questions, and I think that's to be applauded. And that wasn't happening in the other nations. Where it's happened in other nations, it's happened through lots and lots and lots of lobbying. Not in Wales. They were out of the door and they did it. So I think that was fantastic. 

I'd say from a promoter's point of view, I've had very little to do in Wales, because if a promoter has a problem, I can quite literally put them to the team at Creative Wales or at the arts council and they get on and they deal with them directly. And that's not the same in other parts of the UK, and particularly not in England, where we have to do a huge amount of work to support the promoters there. So Wales has been exemplary. 

I would echo Andy's point, in the meetings—and it's a bit like going back to what me and Neal were talking about before, and what both me and Neal are agreed on is that we want some longer term plan and what Andy's saying, we want that. And that's the bit that—. Perhaps the teams at the arts council and Creative Wales need some space and some support, for someone to be able to come and say, 'Let's just think what's that longer term. How are we going to live with coronavirus and how is the sector going to be able to recover?' Because at the moment, what they're having to do is respond to news of vaccines or lockdowns, firebreaks and so on, and the ongoing problems that people have. So that would be the support, I think, they would need to do their job effectively. 

Yes, I'd agree that, again, from sitting on the other committee that we're on, the Wales event industry advisory group, the response has been good. The face time, as they say, that we get with Ministers has been good, and I've found it's been effective. We've been able to communicate what the issues are, and they've been able to turn it into action, and I'd like to think that the cultural recovery funds have been shaped a little bit by that. And, like John says, there isn't as much heavy-duty lobbying that has needed to take place.

But, what it does remind me of is, I've been in front of this committee before, and we've spoken about live music, and music and things like that. And the thing I said then as well, when we were talking about the arts council and Creative Wales and things like that, was that they're the enablers for people like us to go and do the work. And, again, I think this is kind of bringing that point home again, where they're there to give us the assistance that we need. But the fact that we needed to set up a Wales event industry advisory group as a response to all of this, really, speaks volumes. So, that was what was needed. So, now, the industry can give the feedback and the guidance that's necessary on how these funds and things should be directed in order to benefit us.

So, I think, going forward, really firmly establishing that relationship would be only a good thing. Let the sector develop and lead and show where the money needs to be spent and things need to go. So, I think this is a good learning experience in order to establish that kind of process going forward. 

10:25

So, that might be something that you'd like to see surviving post pandemic. Spike, do you have anything to add? No. And, Andy, I saw you wanted to come back in on this briefly. 

Sorry, yes, I know we're slightly running behind. I just wanted to say that the only gap, the main gap that I'm concerned about at the moment, and I'm trying to write to Kirsty Williams about, is music services. As far as I'm aware, music services weren't able to access the cultural recovery fund. I expect some of them, I hope, will have had some local authority support. Some of them are still attached to local authorities, so there is, essentially, a link there. But I'm concerned about what's happening with them, because there was already an ongoing conversation about the problems there. So, that's actually my focus at the moment in some ways. I just wanted to add that. Thanks.

Okay. That's certainly something we may be able to pick up on with Welsh Government. John Griffiths. 

Okay. Arts council then specifically—how effective has their funding been, and has it been useful to you?

Overall, I really commend the response of the arts council. They've supported us. We were staring into the abyss in October, wondering whether we'd ever been able to carry on the work that we were doing. So, access to the cultural recovery fund, for us, was a lifeline. Generally, the arts council have held a lot of open forums, like 'What Next?', which was a chance to address the sector questions head on. I think they've acted swiftly and meaningfully with the support they've given. And, obviously, they have the systems in place to administrate and deliver funding, and maybe Creative Wales haven't quite got there yet.

But, I think, what's really impressed me about the arts council is the idea that they're embracing this reconstruction of a new landscape, and asking the big questions, 'Where will we be? What do we want things to be post COVID?' So, things like implementing the cultural contracts, addressing inequalities, and realising maybe the future needs to be steered by young people. That, for me, is a really valuable discussion, and what we really have been really focusing on is that sort of discussion. So, yes, hats off. 

That's good to hear. I've got John, and then I've got Andy. 

I just want to echo Spike's point about the cultural contract. I think that's marvellous. Instead of us talking about a return back to normal, we're talking about, 'Where can we go to this new normal?' And I love the attachment of a cultural contract and the ambition of what a future Wales might look like. So, I just want to reinforce that point that Spike was saying. I think it's marvellous. 

Thank you, John. I seem to have lost Andy. Are you still with us, Andy? Hopefully, he'll be able to join us. Neal, have you got anything to add specifically on arts council?

Again, just from the point of view of our organisation, we've found them easy to engage with and when we needed some help right at the very beginning, they were certainly there, and it allowed us, helped us, to sort of shift our focus, for lack of a better word, obviously because our main business is live music, and it enabled us to move in a different direction. And that allowed us to help out a little bit as well, and help out, for what it was worth, the rest of the immediate sector that we're most engaged with. So, yes, in that sense, I found it a very positive and very useful experience.

10:30

Thank you. Andy, you're back with us. I think you wanted to comment on the arts council.

Yes, sorry. That was a good time for my laptop to decide to reboot. 

I missed some of what John said, but, yes, I think the arts council have been great. They pivoted very quickly right back in March. They delayed the review that was due to happen of the national portfolio organisations, which I think was important to happen quickly.

From our point of view, they managed to get some funding out to individuals, which again was really helpful. So, yes, again, they've not had the same challenges as Creative Wales, because they've had the systems in place already, but I think they've done a great job, yes.

Yes, just sticking with the arts council and indeed Welsh Government: if you have received support from them, have you been asked to demonstrate how useful that funding has been?

Well, up until now, the Forté project has only been supported by the Arts Council of Wales and not Creative Wales, so we're at the very beginning of the cultural recovery support. Yes, I think in terms of demonstrating usefulness, as we've just said, we've signed up to the cultural contract and we've set goals on how we can aim to meet those priorities of the contract regarding our organisation, improving equality, and sustainability. So, we are only at the very beginning of the cultural recovery fund.

I think what I would like to see is, we've been desperately seeking long-term support from Creative Wales to launch a separate project and we're still waiting for a response on exactly how Creative Wales will support us to reach more young industry personnel in a digital context. So, yes, up until now, we're safe, but we need to be thinking of the future.

Okay. John Griffiths, have you got any further questions—

—because I'm conscious that we need to come on to Mick? John.

Certainly. Just one final question, Cadeirydd, and that's going back to what we've been talking about, really, in terms of the future. So, help has been available to get organisations through this current difficulty, when activity cannot take place. Would you like to see more emphasis now on supporting activity restarting? I know that Andy's Musicians' Union suggested a seat-matching scheme, where there might be some subsidy to understand the requirements of social distancing and nonetheless make events financially worth while and viable. And there's been a suggestion, I think, that there might be help to run digital events. So, would you like to see a different focus and emphasis now in terms of support available?

Andy, shall we start with you, since there's that specific suggestion from the Musicians' Union?

Yes. Thanks, yes, I think we definitely need to move towards that. I guess, as I said, I think it needs to be a hybrid, to some extent. We need support to look towards reopening, but also there are going to be businesses and organisations that can't reopen. That's still going to have an impact on the supply chain and workers, so it needs to be a bit of a hybrid there. So, if you can't open, I'd like to see—I think all of us would like to see—support to keep you there in the industry available to restart at some point.

I guess the other side of it—I think the thing that we're really still concerned about is: furlough's been extended until March, and that's great, but there are still really significant gaps, and this is UK Government support and there are still some really significant gaps there. And Welsh Government can't fix those. I hope it's still lobbying for them to be fixed. That is going to have a really ongoing effect still.

The self-employment support scheme is not now anywhere near as generous even as it was from January, I think. And we've got so many members—I think it's about a third—who are missing from that entirely. And so, there are some members in Wales who have only had their £2,500 freelance fund grant, and even as we look towards reopening, because of all the problems that we've discussed, that is still for us a really significant problem and a key focus that I think is probably just worth mentioning.

Well, I think we will have some questions on the UK Government support and the issues with it in a moment from Mick.

No, that's fine. Anybody else want to comment on support to reopen safely? John—John Rostron.

I think I did a little list before, so I think I covered that off, but I just will say there's also a couple of bigger picture things, like whilst there will be some level of everybody being digital, whether they choose to go back to their group or not, or they can and can't, we can only do these things if we have a good broadband access across Wales. I live in rural north Wales; my internet is always a bit wobbly. So, if I want to access music, because it's only available right now because of streaming or if I want to meet my group online, I need that good connectivity.

Through Making Music, one of the most fascinating things we've learnt is in our members, particularly the older ones, the ones in their 70s and 80s, they have for years been lobbied by their banks, by the NHS, to try and move online, and they have steadfastly refused; COVID came along, and they're all itching to get on Zoom, because they want to join their choir. So, these are remarkable things, like, and now they're doing their banking, and now they're getting their prescriptions, but they needed connectivity.

10:35

They need that connectivity to do it. Yes, that's a very good point.

[Inaudible.]—thinking of, because we're going to be around for quite a while like this.

Yes, so not to keep hammering the same point, but in the broader sense as well, and I mean, again, it's another example of how those kinds of funding streams and people who make those decisions, they need to be prepared to be flexible, and everything needs to flex to fit the people it's for. So, absolutely, you know what I mean? They should be constantly reviewing them at the moment. But, again, it's looking to the sector for what's required and not missing things like what John was just mentioning then, because obviously there is an issue of internet poverty in Wales, as well as elsewhere. There are all of those things that need to be considered for how the service is delivered in the best way for the most people.

Thank you, Neal. And I'm going to move on now—John Griffiths, if you'll forgive me—to Mick Antoniw.

I've just got a relatively short question, and you've touched on it a little bit, and that's just really with the importance of funding for those who work, particularly the self-employed, within the industry, and I know this is a debate that's been ongoing, because of its importance, particularly with freelancers. We have the furlough scheme, we have the self-employed income support scheme. Now particularly looking at that scheme, that continues of course through for the time being, I think until March. I'm just wondering how dependent you are on that self-employed scheme. What concerns do you have really about the gaps in it? Those who haven't—. I mean, some have been filled by Welsh Government, but perhaps those that are there. And how important is it for the future as we go through the transition, perhaps through a vaccine period, to the beginning of the re-emergence of the industry?

Thank you, Mick. Andy, you've already touched on this, and if you can perhaps in your answer—you've said that a large number of your members can't get access to that. Can you perhaps explain to us a bit why that is, what are the criteria in that scheme that are stopping your members getting at it?

Yes, absolutely. I think in one of our studies we did, it was around 38 per cent of members who couldn't access that scheme. It's really to do with the criteria and the kind of, I suppose, quite simplistic nature of the way that it views work. My members, a lot of them, have got portfolio careers, unless you're employed by one orchestra, and even then you're going to do other work. Most of them have got portfolio careers and, actually, often those portfolio careers aren't exclusively self-employed. That's one thing: some of it's going to be employed, some of it's going to be self-employed; there's probably a mixture there. So, lots of the criteria cause problems, to do with if you've recently become self-employed, you're excluded; if your profits are over a certain amount, you're excluded, instead of having a cap on what you can receive, like the furlough scheme. I think you have to do 50 per cent or more of your work as self-employed to qualify for the scheme. Well, if you have a portfolio career, that percentage might often vary year to year. There are some people who are on the wrong side of that.

There are people who might work through companies. I know especially our colleagues—this is not so much music, but our colleagues in BECTU have been particularly affected by some of those things about people who are working through very small companies. You know, if you've taken maternity leave, taken a career break to look after children, you're probably not going to qualify; the list goes on and on. I think one of the problems is that it's based on a quite old-fashioned, simplistic view of work, I would say, where you're either self-employed or you're employed, and the—[Inaudible.]—limit is pretty problematic. So, a whole host of issues.

I think it's worth saying to Welsh Government, you know, that the freelance fund was great—like I said, nothing like that in England—but it hasn't plugged the gap, because that's a one-off grant of £2,500. For some of our members, that would have been the only COVID-specific support they'd have received, aside from benefits and things like that. For some, that's the only thing they received, and that's not going to get you—that's not going to keep you in the industry. And I think that the self-employed scheme has been topped up while England is in lockdown. I don't think that continues all the way through; I think it drops down to 40 per cent. The way it's calculated—I think—has changed. So, yes, a whole host of issues. And also qualifying for furlough as well, which is a bit of a separate issue.

10:40

Thank you. I can see lots of agreement for that. John Rostron, do you want to come in briefly there?

It's a similar situation for promoters. Most of the promoters in Wales—. A lot of the concerts that happen in Wales have a handful of big companies that employ people and do shows, but most of the shows, particularly through the grass roots that you see, were put on by somebody who's actually got some other job, and promoting is what they do for a hobby, and it will always be a hobby, or they're trying to make it a career, but the money in promoting is so tight, for reasons that we'll go into another time. They've got this turnover, but they don't really have an income, or a very small income, so, like Andy said, they fall through a huge gap. They haven't got any support. So, our worry is more—. It's not just about what help they might need now, but it's in the future, because if all those people disappear, the shows stop. What we'd like to suggest as a solution is that it's actually not a huge number of people—it's under 100 people—and we'd just like to identify them through a membership organisation, such as the Association of Independent Promoters, and just say, 'Can we help these people? Because if we can help them—.' We just want them to be ready when venues can reopen, because these are the people who put the gigs on—the little gigs and the concerts and the things that people go and see in their community.

Can I just follow that on? Is it your view, then, that—

I just wanted to follow on from that. Is it your view that there should be a more focused sectoral support for the industry itself? That was the one point that follows on from what you were suggesting as a solution. How might that work? But secondly—and I think I know the answer to this—your view would be that it is absolutely vital that even the support that currently exists has got to continue well into next year, otherwise it risks losing the benefits that it's actually achieved so far.

Thank you, Mick. I can see John's agreeing to that. John.

Yes, because it's very tight, I would like to see sector-specific support for the music sector. We've seen it already with venues. We know what a grass-roots music venue looks like, we can list the 50 of them in Wales, and we can go and target them. And that's actually what's needed, rather than trying to create a mechanism to support venues and they fit through it. It's like Mark Davyd says, from the Music Venue Trust: the elephant in the room. You know what a grass-roots music venue looks like, go and help it. But, yes, absolutely. What we said before is—. Glastonbury, for example, has got a deadline of 14 January, because that's the point when they have to decide whether Glastonbury can happen next year. Most of our promoters are booking shows that will happen or not in October, November next year, and they won't get paid for those shows until the shows happen. So, yes, they would require—. The venues might be back open, and people might be back out, but, actually, they won't see their income for that whole year until the event happens, so they will require some level of support to be able to get to that point of pay day, because their pay day isn't every week or every month like—

I'm going to bring Neal in very briefly, and then we're going to have to bring this session to a close, because we're already 15 minutes over time. Neal.

Sure. Again, it just sort of dovetails back to the point I was making earlier about the long-term effects—the knock on. And John's sort of—you've just been discussing it there. That's exactly what I was talking about before, Mick. There's the immediate problem now, but then there are cut-off points. Just for reference, the group that I'm in submitted a set of cut-off dates for the Wales signature events to Welsh Government a couple of weeks ago as well, so, internally, everyone should be quite well aware of what that means for Wales as well. 

That's very helpful. Well, I'm sorry to have to cut this session off; it's been really, really interesting and really useful. Very grateful to you, witnesses, for your time. As usual, we'll send you a transcript of the evidence, so you can make sure that we've recorded everything accurately. I know that you've given us a lot of food for thought in terms of evidence that we might present to Welsh Government, so that's been very useful. And you're welcome to leave us now. Thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr.

Wedyn, Aelodau, dŷn ni'n rhedeg tamaid bach yn hwyr, so os dwi'n awgrymu ein bod ni'n torri'r brêc i lawr i 10 munud. Os gallwch chi fod yn ôl 10.55, plis.

Members, we are running slightly behind schedule, so I suggest that we cut the break to some 10 minutes. If you could return at 10.55, please.

And if we can stop the broadcast for the break.

10:45

Gohiriwyd y cyfarfod rhwng 10:45 a 10:59.

The meeting adjourned between 10:45 and 10:59.

10:55
3. COVID-19: effaith y pandemig ar gerddoriaeth fyw
3. COVID-19: impact of the outbreak on live music

Bore da, eto, a chroeso yn ôl i gyfarfod Pwyllgor Diwylliant, y Gymraeg a Chyfathrebu ein Senedd ni. Eitem 3 ar yr agenda: rydym ni'n cymryd tystiolaeth bellach ar effaith COVID-19 ar gerddoriaeth fyw, ac rydym ni'n croesawu atom ni Paul Carr.

Good morning and welcome back to this meeting of the Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee of our Senedd. Item 3 on our agenda: we will take further evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on live music, and we welcome Paul Carr.

A very warm welcome to you, Paul. If you could just introduce yourself, and then I think that you are going to give us a short presentation. Then, Members will ask questions. So, Paul, welcome. If you want to introduce yourself, and we'll take it from there. 

11:00

Yes, thanks very much. My name is Paul Carr. I'm professor of popular music at the University of South Wales, and I recently undertook a fellowship that resulted in a report, which is what I'm talking about today.

Thank you very much, Paul. So, if you want to begin your short presentation to us, that would be great.

Thank you. So, in order to give the committee a concise snapshot of the details contained in my report that are relevant to live music, I will initially provide a very brief context of the live music industries, pre- and post-pandemic, prior to focusing in on the recommendations that are most pertinent to this inquiry.

So, in terms of pre pandemic, in 2012, the Musicians' Union estimated that 94 per cent of UK musicians are freelancers, who as we know have been hit particularly hard during the pandemic. Although specific Welsh data are scarce, what we do know is that, in 2019, according to UK Music's most recent report, Welsh music tourism attracted 440,000 people, with 371,000 attending concerts and 69,000 attending festivals. The total spend for Welsh music tourism is estimated to be in the region of £143 million, generating close to 2,000 jobs. Although these music tourism figures are impressive, to put them in context, Scotland's total spend by visitors generates £443 million, the West Midlands £252 million, and London—no surprises—£1.5 billion.

I feel that it's important to point out that the large amount that the UK live music industries generate—the most recent figures estimate £1.3 billion—must not undermine the financial struggles experienced by the majority of music creators in Wales, with the average wage for Cardiff-based artists approximated to be around £18,000 a year. Also, I need to point out that my report doesn't even discuss the impact of Brexit, which will unquestionably present its own set of issues for the live music industries as it moves forward.

In terms of post pandemic, many freelancers in the UK live music industries have doubted their capacity to stay in their professions post pandemic, as I'm sure the committee is aware. In May, the UK Live Music Group expected as much as £900 million to be wiped from the £1.1 billion that the UK live music sector was expected to contribute to the domestic economy this year, with 82 per cent of grass-roots music venues noting the threat of closure. In terms of grass-roots music venues' sustainability, a recent DCMS select committee report estimated that 93 per cent of grass-roots music venues across the UK face permanent closure, with 86 per cent of venues reporting that their core threat stems from an inability to meet commercial rent demand. 

I don't have time to go through all of the recommendations in my report here, so, what I thought I would do is focus on two broad themes that I consider to be particularly important. The first is reopening and recovery strategies, and the second is strategic opportunities. So, in terms of reopening and recovery strategies, I'd like to highlight three points: first, the speed of venues opening; secondly, the clarity of advice given to assist this; and thirdly, what can we learn from other Governments who have offered targeted recovery passages?

In terms of the speed at which venues have been able to open in Wales, I think it's fair to say that the return to indoor and outdoor live concert performances has been very cautious when compared to England, and certainly mainland Europe more broadly. There's a real concern that if the live music industries remain closed, they will lose the talent that sustained it. When comparing the return of live music in Wales to other nations, it's apparent that many European nations have put policies in place to facilitate the return of live music. So, for example, prior to the recent lockdowns, the Czech Republic opened indoor venues on 11 May, initially with a maximum capacity of 100 but progressively increasing to 500 by 18 June. Other examples include Spain, who also opened live performance venues on 11 May, and Finland, who opened their venues from 1 June. There are many other examples of these sorts of activities, which maybe we can talk about later. 

In terms of clarity of advice on the phased return of live music, I would suggest that current Welsh Government guidelines on how the music industries can return to normal are confusing, to me at least, because they're split across a number of documents and, for me, anyway, none of the guidance offers a clear road map on how freelancers will be able to re-engage with their profession. Although Welsh Government acknowledges that venues will have to make significant and physical operational changes to facilitate live music activity, this responsibility is placed with employers. Welsh Government also acknowledges that live music would be one of the last sectors to return to normal and is in need of a long-term strategy to assist its survival, but as we know, this strategy isn't in place as of yet.

Regarding what we can learn from other nations who've instigated recovery fund packages for live music, perhaps the world's most well known example is New Zealand, which allocated a NZ$16.5 million music recovery fund—around £8.5 million—as part of a NZ$175 million arts and culture fund. This included NZ$7 million to boost NZ On Air's new music programmes; NZ$5 million for a live music touring fund to support New Zealand acts on the domestic circuit; NZ$3 million immediate support to ensure music venues are safe environments for audiences; and NZ$1.4 million to help musicians recoup lost income. The support is expected to sustain close to 3,000 jobs over a two-year period, produce around 450 new song releases, and facilitate 150 live music tours throughout the country. There's also an interesting fund instigated by the Australian Government, who have allocated AU$20 million—around £11 million—over a four-year period to fund the Live Music Australia programme. This is aimed at small and medium-sized venues to assist them in getting ready for hosting shows again. Venues can bid to upgrade equipment and infrastructure, or undertake professional development, while promoters can bid to develop regional touring circuits.

As a consequence of these factors, I personally would like to see Welsh Government develop a clear reopening strategy for the live music industries that outlines what's possible now, what's not possible yet, and what will never be possible. Most importantly, the live music sector needs to know what support will be available for all of these outcomes, not just finance, but rate relief, sympathetic licensing et cetera, and particular attention should be placed on what can be learned from other nations, in my opinion. In conjunction with this, I would also suggest that Welsh Government could develop a three-year music industries recovery strategy alongside associated funding. This plan could consider factors such as how we can sustain and retain and incubate talent; how public confidence can be re-established; how the various parts of the live music industries can be supported and invigorated; how realistic alternative business models can be implemented; how industry training can meet the needs of the new sector; and, last but not least, how the technical infrastructures of venues, rehearsal rooms, and even recording studios, can become COVID-proof, if required, if the vaccine doesn't work.

So, just to finish off, some points about my second theme. I'd like to briefly discuss some strategic opportunities Welsh Government has at this point in time, but, before I do this, I need to point out how incredibly frustrating it's been having to mainly quote UK data in my report, which, although relevant to Wales, doesn't deal with the nuances of the Welsh music industries. As I found when I wrote my first report on the live music industry in Wales around 10 years ago now, detailed statistical data on the live music industries in Wales is more or less non-existent, which is clearly something that needs to be addressed. In addition to the need for focused research, I see three strategic opportunities for Welsh Government to potentially take advantage of. Firstly, it's noticeable that since the demise of the Welsh Music Foundation's music industry directory, there's no central point through which the live music industry can identify strategic opportunities in Wales. I'm thinking of local musicians, all the way through to international promoters. Secondly, information concerning Welsh Government's grass-roots music venue mapping, which was commissioned in 2019, has still not emerged, well over a year since its commission, and we really need it. And finally, when doing our research, it's noticeable how nations such as Argentina, Belgium and Chile had financed what they describe as culture-at-home initiatives, which finance artists to produce content and provide a single digital portal for the general public to access. So, for example, Argentina's ministry of culture announced a small fund to hire nearly 500 artists to develop content for their portal that facilitates remote access to Buenos Aires's cultural offerings. New content is uploaded every day, and it includes workshops, movies, theatre shows, yes, music performances and local artist interviews. And there's a similar initiative in Belgium, whose culture-at-home portal provides a singular link to cinemas, lectures, performing arts, museums and opportunities for funding. And, finally, the Chilean Government has developed an online cultural portal that houses numerous activities from across the nation, including music.

So, taking all of these potential opportunities into account, I suggest we need a public-facing database of the music industries in Wales and a public-facing map of all of its venues, categorised by type—so, grass-roots, theatre, arena, concert hall, so on and so forth. And I also suggest the launch of a Welsh culture-at-home initiative, similar to those that I've mentioned, which includes not only recorded music but, obviously, live performances. This would not only help Welsh music keep alive domestically and internationally during emergencies such as a pandemic, but it would also act as an important means of showcasing Welsh talent in the future. The success of this obviously relies on more households in Wales having access to fast, reliable broadband.

I also suggest that Welsh Government commissions research that investigates the specific contribution that live music gives to the Welsh economy and the impact of COVID-19 on its subsectors. The overarching objective of this work should be to (a) verify how much income the Welsh music industries generate, (b) to work out how much currently remains within Wales, and (c) to figure out what can be done to ensure the nation can retain more of it. I feel this research would need to focus on the Welsh music industries more broadly. Trying to understand live music without understanding how it relates to the rest of the music industries is almost akin to attempting to explain the role of this committee without understanding what Welsh Government does. Live music works as part of an ecology, so this type of research is essential if we're to understand and, most importantly, improve the live music industries, moving forward.

So, to conclude, I think this is a one-off opportunity to not only provide and build upon the important economic contribution live music gives to Wales, but also to appreciate and celebrate the important cultural and social role it plays in people's lives. Thank you very much.

11:10

Thank you very much, Paul—very interesting and thought provoking, and thank you for your report. Members have received a copy of the executive summary of that, and there's some very useful material in there that will inform our recommendations to Welsh Government. Can I ask if Members have got any questions, any points they'd like to raise? Mick. Can we unmute Mick, please? There we go.

11:15

You referred to a lot of countries that, in Europe in particular, began to open their cultural activities back in May and June et cetera, far quicker than in the UK, but equally so, some of those countries then had to shut them down very rapidly again. Does that impact in terms of your analysis as to how things happened? Because it seems one of the things that has been going on is to evaluate what can be done, and Welsh Government's been doing it very cautiously in relation to what the levels are, and, of course, there has been that considerable variation around. You mentioned Czechoslovakia; of course, Czechoslovakia opened very early, really, to quite a fanfare, but then had this massive increase again. I'm just wondering how that really impacts on your perception as to whether the slightly more cautious approach, actually, in the long term is better than a more avant-garde sort of approach.

I understand your point. I think it's about balance. What I personally think is that it's—. Although you're perfectly right that many of the examples I mention in the report of nations opening—. I can go through a few more if you want me to do that. You're right; with the recent upsurge of the pandemic, many of those places have had to close down again. But, for me, it's an underlying philosophy of opening the arts up. Okay, it may be flawed, it may end up being closed again, but I think just the notion of attempting to open it up—because, obviously, live music can't stay closed indefinitely; it needs to open up at some point, and it is about balance. I certainly feel very safe within Wales compared to many places in Europe, but the music venues—. I know of a number of artists who have been doing tours in England, for example, but they haven't been able to do the same in Wales, and for me that has to be a problem.

Thank you. Have other Members got questions or points to raise? Can I just ask—? I was going to ask whether you thought the prohibition on live performances was appropriate, and without putting words in your mouth, it seems that you don't. What should Welsh Government be doing at this point? Is there something that they ought to be doing to enable venues to be able to plan to open safely with some sort of social distancing measures? What would your advice be to them now?

In terms of the continued prohibition of live music, it seems to me—as you say, like I've already alluded to—that, the longer we wait, the more music industry stakeholders will possibly have to leave the profession and take their services elsewhere, or face going out of business. For me, one of the main issues that I am concerned about as somebody who used to be in the profession, but now has this role where I just observe it as an outsider, is the talent drain. I know that that was mentioned in the recent UK Music report that only came out a few days ago. If there is work elsewhere, then, obviously, music industry stakeholders will have to go for it if we don't open things up here.

I'm sure over the course of the various evidence sessions you've had, you're very aware that many grass-roots music venues are forecast to close. Obviously, this will have an economic impact—a huge economic impact. We haven't got any specific data, which was why I called for the specific data within Wales, but you can see from the music tourism data on its own that in 2020, Wales isn't going to be making anywhere close to the income that it made from music tourism as it did the year before, or indeed the year before that.

I think the final couple of points I would say about it is that there's been a long-standing discussion, mainly though informal blog posts, around the notion of why more artists don't play in Wales. This is before the pandemic, when there was a lot of feeling that artists would play in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, but they would sometimes bypass Wales. That obviously is going to be a real problem if England, for example, open up their live music industry before the Welsh one. Personally, to finish that point off, I think what I would like to see is—. At the moment the live music industry is worth £1.3 billion. We don't know specifically what Wales's share of that is, but whatever it is, I would like to see it increase, not decrease. So, I hope that's answered the question.

11:20

I've got a couple of points on things that you mentioned during the presentation that I really find quite interesting. One is obviously the detailed data. You referred to a public-facing database, and I wondered if you could explain what you mean by a public-facing database. Certainly, the availability of specific Welsh data is something that's been a real concern. It's something that we've discussed on this committee, but other committees as well, in terms of specific Welsh data as opposed to UK data. Then you also referred to, for example, a three-year recovery plan, which is quite interesting, because it's obviously dependent, very much, on how things develop, but I think what you're suggesting is that that's something that should be starting now. Are you aware of any other countries that have started developing these plans or have done anything else along the lines of that, and what those might look like? I'm just asking, really, in the most general terms, because I appreciate you can't be more specific than that.

Thanks for that. In terms of the three-year recovery plan, I must admit I'm not aware of any specific examples of that, although I presume that it is happening. I presume, and I may be wrong, that these early openings are part of a recovery plan. I do know that there is a European live music lobby group who have come up—. I mentioned this in the report; I can't remember the specific stages of it, but they have recommended a series of protocols that nations should go through in order to open their doors. But how that has been taken up in specific nations, I don't know, to be honest.

In terms of the first question, the public-facing database, yes, there are examples of this. There are two examples I can think of that may be worth mentioning. There's an initiative in Finland, an organisation called Music Finland, which supports live music, facilitates tours and showcases talent. There's also an initiative in Poland that does something very similar. It has a database of the artists in the nation focusing on talent development and obviously showcasing how the Polish talent can be exploited around the world. We used to have the Welsh Music Foundation, who were probably our closest version of this. But certainly I think a database where the talent is showcased centrally makes a lot of sense to me.

11:25

Thanks, Chair. I enjoyed reading the executive summary, which I found lucid and quite focused on things that are of concern to us.

Two questions, really. One follows up work we've done in the past, and that's that local authorities are key in terms of ensuring there's a healthy infrastructure for live performance, and they don't have a great record in terms of involving the sector—through the whole range, from licensing and business rates to promoting and using the sector effectively. So I just wonder if you've had a chance to look at some of the actions that have been taken more recently. Cardiff council in particular has made a real effort. I can't remember what they call it now, but they want to be a city of music, or something. They're trying to package it all up in that way and get the maximum in terms of people coming to Cardiff and really seeing it as a vibrant place. And you made those comments about the size of the sector compared to Scotland, for instance. That's my first question.

So, is some of that work already bearing fruit? Presumably, we really need to build on that if we're going to see a robust recovery for the sector. Because part of the problem, I think, is how we react to the surge in demand. And if we don't do that very effectively, then audiences will get put off when they're desperate, really, to engage again. Because I think that will be a big factor, myself. I don't know if other Members are the same, but I'm already fantasising about the first concerts I want to go to listen to and the restaurant I will have my pre-concert dinner in, and all the rest of it. So I think there's going to be a lot of that out there. 

Secondly, I think it's fair to say this report was done without really considering what would happen if there was a very effective vaccine, because I think we were all expecting a flu-type vaccine if we were lucky, with 50-odd per cent coverage, leaving all sorts of other public health requirements clearly in play, whereas now, we may be shifting to a fuller solution with a vaccine, though still far from certain. If over 90 per cent of the population can not only be inoculated against the severe symptoms but would not spread it, this could put us in a very different place. I just wonder whether we would then be going down the road of should there be—well, some sort of certifying of people who have had the vaccine so that they can attend these sorts of performances. Or is that more troublesome in your view, or is it something, perhaps, we need to start thinking about? 

Thanks for that. Certainly, to answer the first question on the local authorities—the relationship of local authorities to the music industry, I suppose if we think of it like that—having spent the last few months reading across the board a lot of the literature that's out there across the UK in particular, a lot of the literature is suggesting that the best way to do that is to set up a music board. Cardiff has done that and I think, although I've never sat in, I'm not a member of the music board in Cardiff, I hear good things about what they're doing, as they're in the process of actioning the Sound Diplomacy report into how to make Cardiff a flourishing music city. So, I think maybe the implementation of music boards might be a good way forward to roll out throughout Wales, if that can be done—what can be learned from what's going on in Cardiff, taking the good practice, and then taking that across other authorities in Wales. 

I think it's a good opportunity as well to applaud the work that Creative Wales is doing. It's easy to criticise approaches, but what I'm hearing on the ground is that a lot of people really appreciate the work that is going on in Creative Wales in making some of these relationships—breaking down these relationships between local authorities and the music industry, and, of course, Welsh Government itself and the music industry. 

In terms of the vaccine, it obviously depends on how the vaccine works. You hear these reports of 95 per cent success rate, but, at the moment, we don't know. Personally, regardless of what happens with the vaccine, I would rather go for a model that many nations have adopted, and that's one of financing socially distanced music as soon as possible, in a COVID-secure environment, whatever that COVID-secure environment is. I don't know what I think about—. I don't know, I'll have to think that through in terms of, you can't go to a concert unless you've had the vaccine. I've spoken to many people who are a little bit unsure about taking the vaccine because it hasn't had a lot of time to be tested, so I don't feel qualified to comment on that. I'm not a venue owner, but I imagine that some venues would be able to become COVID secure without significant financial outlay. What they need is support to supplement loss of income.

So, yes, the vaccine one is a strange one. I think, whatever happens with the vaccine, we need to learn from what's happened so far, I suppose, in the pandemic, and I think we need to learn, not just what's happened during the pandemic, but, as the committee have investigated, the issues we had before the pandemic. I think that's what needs to be addressed, which, of course, you guys are doing.

11:30

Only to say that I thought that was a very clear answer, and in particular, even if the vaccine does take us to new opportunities, it's going to be quite a while, and we need to get COVID safe long before that and have a robust model there as well. So, I think that's quite an important reflection for this committee.

If I may just add one extra thing to that, if that's okay, one extra point. I mentioned making venues COVID secure, and I'm thinking just the basics of rearranging tables, making sure social distancing is implemented, hygiene, things like that. In Welsh Government documentation, it mentions the encouragement of what they call 'virtual activity'. If we're going to go down that route, if Wales is going to go down that route, where, perhaps, you've got a socially distanced concert that is also broadcast, that will require finance, because the majority of venues won't have those infrastructures in place. So, I think the whole notion of virtual concerts is interesting. At the moment, in the Government documentation, they're mentioned, but there's no real description about what they are. I'd like to know more about that.

Thank you. That's helpful. I've got one further thing I'd like to ask, but do any other Members have any other questions for Paul? Okay. Can I just bring you back to the database, Paul, which seems sensible to me? We're not a very big country; it must be possible to capture that information, though there'll always be things that will fall through the gaps. But, do you have a view about whose job it should be to create this database? Is this a job for Creative Wales, because, from our perspective as a committee, the more specific we can be in our recommendations to Welsh Government, the more likely they are to accept and act on them? So, have you thought about that?

It does make sense for Creative Wales, in their growing role, I suppose, as being the music industry voice, to be included in that, although one of the witnesses you just spoke to—. I didn't listen to the last session, I'm going to listen to it later, but Spike Griffiths has set up a Beacons project. I've just had informal discussions with Spike about that, but it seems to be moving in that direction of a database that showcases Welsh talent, develops, identifies Welsh talent. For me, though, as long as it happens, I'm not too concerned about who does it. But I think Creative Wales should be involved in it, for sure.

11:35

That's great. Thank you very much, Paul. Is there anything else you'd like to add before we bring this session to a close? No.

I think the only thing I would like to add is just that thank you for conducting the inquiry. It's obviously taken longer than what you anticipated with the introduction of the pandemic, but it's just been so gratifying to listen to the witnesses talk about, and have an opportunity to discuss, the various issues in the live music industry. And I can only hope that, as things move forward, it's broadened out to include the music industries more broadly. So, yes, thank you very much.

Well, thank you, Paul, and thank you for your report, which, as I've already said, will be really useful. We will as usual send you a copy of the transcript of this part of the meeting so that you can just check that we've recorded everything that you've said correctly.

So, thank you very much. Diolch yn fawr, and you're welcome to leave us now.

4. Cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42 i benderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod
4. Motion under Standing Order 17.42 to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting

Cynnig:

bod y pwyllgor yn penderfynu gwahardd y cyhoedd o weddill y cyfarfod yn unol â Rheol Sefydlog 17.42(ix).

Motion:

that the committee resolves to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 17.42(ix).

Cynigiwyd y cynnig.

Motion moved.

Ac felly, dwi'n symud i eitem 4 ar yr agenda, sef cynnig o dan Reol Sefydlog 17.42(ix) i wahardd y cyhoedd rhag gweddill ein cyfarfod. Ydy'r Aelodau yn hapus inni wneud hynny? Dwi'n gweld eich bod chi, felly dwi'n gofyn i'r darlledwyr i ddod â'r darllediad i ben.

And that brings us to item 4 on our agenda, which is a motion under Standing Order 17.42(ix) to resolve to exclude the public from the remainder of the meeting. Are Members content? I see that they are and, therefore, I ask that the broadcast come to a close.

Derbyniwyd y cynnig.

Daeth rhan gyhoeddus y cyfarfod i ben am 11:36.

Motion agreed.

The public part of the meeting ended at 11:36.