Europe-wide post-Covid concert would 'lift our spirits' - Martin

Europe-wide post-Covid concert would 'lift our spirits' - Martin

Minister Catherine Martin said a simultaneous concert from re-opened venues across Europe would help the arts sector. Here she watches John Akomfrah’s epic work Vertigo Sea, on view as part of The Sea Around Us at The Model, Sligo. Photo: Daniel MacDonald. 

A series of European-wide concerts and performances to "lift our spirits" and celebrate the exit from Covid restrictions has been suggested by Arts Minister Catherine Martin.

Ms Martin called on all European countries to come together to mark re-opening with live performances when it is safe and appropriate to do so to show support and solidarity for the sector.

She said it would also allow the public to once again experience the joy of live performance.

Ms Martin made the suggestion at a videoconference meeting of the EU Ministers for Culture and Media to discuss measures to support the recovery of the culture and media sectors from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing the meeting in Irish, the Green Party deputy leader said this has been a year like no other and the performing arts have and continue to be among the most negatively impacted sectors.

She said a simultaneous concert from re-opened venues across Europe would help the sector recover but would also "bring us together, lift our spirits and showcase our wonderful artists and the diversity of our shared culture".

Culture not only has a deep intrinsic value, it is also a vital cog in the economy providing employment and contributing to productivity. 

Its value to health, wellbeing, lifelong learning, its place in addressing and raising awareness of the major issues of our time such as the pandemic, the climate crisis and the sustainable development agenda need to be appreciated and utilised," she told her fellow EU Ministers.

Ms Martin welcomed the proposed significant increase in funding for the Creative Europe Programme 2021-2027, the EU’s main financial instrument to support the culture and media sector.

However, she noted that at a time of unprecedented financial stimulus to boost the recovery of the EU Member States, the cultural, creative and media sectors can play a far greater role within wider EU programmes and as part of the EU Recovery Facility.

Her comments came ahead of a socially distant silent protest by a group of professionals who teach in theatre and the arts. 

The group includes dance school owners, drama and stage school owners, dance teachers, professional dancers and more. They are calling on the Government to provide clarity on why their sector is being forced to remain closed despite other sports and similar activities being allowed to re-open under the easing of restrictions this week.

The group says their businesses and their industry, in general, is at breaking point.

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