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Berlin booking agencies call for industry-specific government aid

70 agencies have come together to launch a new advocacy initiative, Booking United

Booking agencies in Berlin have come together to launch a new advocacy initiative, representing live acts and DJs amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Booking United, which comprises approximately 70 Berlin booking agencies, has published a call to action in the form of an open letter, calling on the German government to provide industry-specific aid for the hundreds of artists they feel represent the “Berlin Brand” globally. 

The open letter puts forward various proposals, including immediate aid for all “cultural workers” and freelance artists, not just those who signed contracts with cultural institutions funded by the federal government. “Help is being denied for 80% of all performing artists,” the letter reads. “We are opposed to such a two-class society and propose the immediate compensation for all verifiably lost fees due to cancelled engagements for all artists.”

The letter also calls for a step-by-step plan for the reopening of clubs and the best practice with which to do so for agencies, clubs and artists to follow.

The letter states: “For agencies and artists, a new start is not possible overnight but requires lead-time for the clarification of various administrative, organisational and occasional private issues. A step-by-step plan with dates and deadlines is essential for our economic advancement. We require a financial and economic plan for the resumption of our business operations and security for our teams…”

Booking United also proposes urgent support packages be made and that certain fees be cut.  “We enrich and shape the German art and cultural landscape in its many forms, including in economic terms, which is why the survival of performing artists and the organisations that represent them must be ensured at all costs,” the letter states. “For this reason, we ask for cancellation fees of up to 60% for all artists if a fee of less than 1,000 Euros was planned and of 40% for fees of more than 1,000 Euros, with a maximum cancellation fee of 2,500 Euros, paid for by government aid and not from the clubs themselves, who are clearly also struggling in this situation.”

Read the full open letter here

A new documentary on BBC Radio 4 explores the current state of Berlin’s underground club culture, and the work of those dedicated to its future. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Berlin clubs have been able to apply for government grants as part of an emergency initiative.