Help & Advice for Entertainers during Covid-19
We are aware that the current global situation with Coronavirus (Covid-19) is having a serious impact on the entertainment industry as a whole. Our work ethos however is to always look ahead, plan a strategy and then act accordingly.
We've put together all the resources and information that we think you’ll need to first help take care of your essentials...then make your action plan. Our recommendation in times like this is to give your act the absolute best exposure possible, to attract as many enquiries & bookings now. We also recommend requesting a larger deposit for all local event bookings you receive now for future dates, even up to 50% to help you through this period.
We are always here to answer any queries that you have and to offer any advice we can, so please do contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will also be updating this page regularly with any new advice.
For general advice on health, wellbeing and how to plan to get those bookings during lockdown, read our new blog 'How to Make the Most of Now'.
- What to do about Current Bookings
- Re-scheduling and New Bookings
- Attending Gigs: Safety & Government Advice for Bookings
- Managing Finances and Financial Support
- Taking Action to Protect Your Industry
- Looking After Your Wellbeing
- Your Plan of Action
What to do about Current Bookings
If you have any booking for events/gigs/jobs coming up in the next few months, we recommend that you stay in contact with the booker to make sure you discuss any changes in the current social distancing rules.
With Cruise jobs and work abroad, due to travel restrictions, it is likely that any work may be cancelled or postponed.
For local bookings and gigs, even if bookers have to change their plans in the short term, there is the option of postponement.
For cancellation policies, postponement and auditions, see below.
If your booking gets cancelled due to issues relating to the coronavirus, there are different options available to you depending on whether you have a contract and a cancellation policy in place.
For more advice on where you stand with cancellations, we recommend reading the recent advice article from the ISM (Incorporated Society of Musicians) . There is some really useful detailed advice on contract types and issues such as Force Majeur.
For all cancellations of local gigs and events, we recommend that you ask the booker if they intend to continue with the event at a later date and encourage them to keep the booking (click here for more info).
Update August 2020: Bookings from October
Good news! Provided infection rates do not increase too quickly in the UK, large Events are due to go ahead from the beginning of October. That means that all your bookings should go ahead as planned.
However, due to the continued uncertainty some clients may still be considering re-scheduling to 2021. If this happens then please refer to our section and links regarding cancellations above. The reason for the cancellation and the circumstances will determine whether you can or should charge cancellation fees and there is some excellent advice on this on the ISM article link above.
We are currently checking on a daily basis with the organisers of auditions, gigs & jobs promoted on our website to see whether they are still going ahead or have been cancelled. If cancelled, we are immediately removing them from our website.
If you are planning to attend an upcoming audition and are not affected by any self-isolation stipulations, we advise that you first contact the booker who you have been in touch with for the latest update on whether it is still going ahead. Due to the currently social distancing in many places, it is likely that auditions will be postponed.
For open auditions, we advise to check before attending on the booker's website link we sent to you when applying, or you can also check our website to see whether the audition has been removed due to cancellation.
If you are unsure, you can always contact us at email@example.com
Re-scheduling and New Bookings
With bookings for wedding, parties and events we strongly recommend that you encourage bookers to postpone your booking if at all possible rather than cancelling altogether. This will mean that you won’t need to discuss refunding any deposits.
For all new bookings where possible we are advising our entertainers to request a 50% deposit. Although this is unusual, we’re sure that bookers will appreciate that many entertainers are trying to find ways to stay afloat financially until this period of social distancing has passed.
One of the ways to try to maintain an income stream is to continue offering your act as a virtual entertainer and take up opportunities to get hired to be entertainment for Zoom parties.
Attending Gigs - Safety & Government Advice for Bookings
Government advice on staying safe, keeping an appropriate distance and use of face coverings/masks can be found here for the UK and here for the US.
We also very strongly recommend that our members check with their own Public Liability Insurance companies before attending any gigs. You need to be sure that any gigs you attend will be covered by your Public Liability Insurance during this period of social distancing, and if there are any particular conditions that need to be met in order for you to be covered.
Managing Finances and Financial Support
Most of the advice below will help members based worldwide. As we have a large amount of members based in the UK & USA, with have also included additional links:
In the United Kingdom
So what can you do if you’re having financial difficulties as a result of COVID-19?
These are the main things you can do to help you get through this time:
Take a 3 month mortgage or rental holiday (call your lender & request 3 months without payments due to Covid-19)
Check if you are elligible for the financial support the government have made available to the Self Employed (see below)
Seek a loan from the Government if you are a small business
Claim universal credit. For more information on how to claim, see this page and here for further information on employment support allowance.
Check any insurance you have to see if it can help you with loss of earnings, and consider cancelling any current work-related insurance policies if you can get a refund on the remainder of the term (as long as that term only covers the next 3-6 months)
If you are concerned about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, there is a dedicated HMRC helpline: 0800 0159 559. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm, and Saturday 8am to 4pm. The line is closed on Bank Holidays.
Read the Money Saving Expert Coronoavirus Help & Support Update which is full of really useful advice on everything from paying bills and council tax to dealing with banks and travel and cancelled holidays.
You can also find advice on debt management either with StepChange or Business Debt Line
All the government’s current up-to-date information on financial support can be found here.
You can also find specific advice on support for businesses and resources here.
Government Grants for the Self Employed
The Government website page currently states the following:
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
You can apply if you’re a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership and you:
- have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for the tax year 2018-19
- traded in the tax year 2019-20 • are trading when you apply, or would be except for COVID-19
- intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020-21
- have lost trading/partnership trading profits due to COVID-19
Your self-employed trading profits must also be less than £50,000 and more than half of your income come from self-employment.
To find out how to apply and if you are elligible visit the page here.
Important Update August 2020
From the 17th August, if you earn at least 50% of your income from self employed work, you will be able to apply for a second grant through the government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme. The grants are worth up to £6570. The best news is that since it's a grant, you don't need to pay it back.
You can find out more by visiting the Government's Self-Employed Income Support Scheme page.
Help Musicians Financial Hardship Fund
This independent charity has launched an amazing 5 million pound fund to help support musicians who have been affected by the financial impact of Covid-19. They offer a one off payment of £500 which can be claimed through an online application. Full details of eligibility and how to apply can be found here.
The Arts Council Financial Support Fund
The Arts Council England have also made financial support available for musicians and performers. They have made £20 million available and you can apply for a grant of up to £2,500 if you receive public funding for your work.
You can find details of eligibility and how to apply here.
In the United States
Much of what we have said above in terms of what you can do if you are experiencing financial difficulties will also apply in the US.
However, financial support and laws around what you can claim vary by state. For an overview and links to useful resources you can visit the Government Consumer Finance website.
This site has specific advice on what to do if:
- You have trouble paying your bills or meeting other financial obligations
- You experience a loss of income
Taking Action to Protect Your Industry
We know that this has been a really difficult time for many, but more particularly for those in our industry. Social distancing has had a huge impact on the number of jobs & gigs entertainers have been able to get over the past months and while there has been some financial support in some countries, in many areas singers, dancers, bands, magicians, comedians and other talented acts and individuals have been given less support than people working in other industries. In the UK, for example, Chancellor Rishi Sunak, has suggested that actors, musicians and other entertainers may have to ‘adapt’, meaning they will have to re-train and find other work if necessary rather than getting continued financial support.
There are many, many petitions and groups that have been set up for entertainers to take action to help save their livelihoods and their wonderful, creative industry. As a global company, it would take too long for us to list every opportunity to take part in every part of the world. Equally each of you will have their own ideas about what would help most, and there are different groups and petitions depending on your opinion.
However we can suggest some good places to get started. You can ask in Facebook groups that are centred around your area of the industry - others will be able to recommend the best petitions to sign and action to take. Please do join our Singers, Dancers, Cruise Entertainers, Musicians, Magicians or Children’s Entertainers groups if you would like to ask about this there. Equally, you can start your own petition at change.org.
Finally, one of the best first steps is to write to your local MP, State Governor or equivalent Government official in your country clearly expressing your opinions on the current local laws and rules that affect your ability to work and your financial stability. You can find out how to contact your local MP here, and your local State Governor here .
Our industry is the heart of our culture and an essential part of our community and wellbeing, in every country around the world, and what we do now will be as important for generations to come as it is for all of us now.
Looking After Your Wellbeing
For many the current situation can feel like a stressful one, with concerns about physical wellbeing and financial security as well as the understandable effect of coping with the strangeness of social distancing or self isolation.
Never has it been more important for us all to support each other as a community and to look after our own wellbeing and that of those around us.
Being part of a community can make a big difference to our experience of this time, so if you haven't done so already, please do join one of our facebook groups for Singers, Cruise Entertainers, Musicians, Magicians, Dancers or Children's Entertainers. All of these can be found on the groups tab of our Facebook Page and anyone can join.
We've also put together some great advice on health and wellbeing during lockdown in our new blog 'How to Make the Most of Now'.
There are also a wealth of wonderful resources on the Arts Minds webpage, with links to numerous resources that offer support with anxiety, stress and general wellbeing. Or you could try one of LinkedIn's new, free online mindfulness and stress management courses.
Healthline have also put together a good blog on general mental health and wellbeing at this time.
Your Plan of Action
Most bookings for the next few months are likely to be cancelled or postponed.
We are still however receiving many new jobs, gigs & auditions, especially requests for bookings from June this year & 2021 / 2022. You will continue to receive these direct enquiries made through your profile & we will also add all of the latest jobs, gigs & auditions to our website for you to apply.
We highly recommend that you also use this time to make a plan of action to sign in and improve / update your publicity and online profiles. Get your profile 'booking ready' and looking totally professional to make sure you have the best possible chance of getting bookings asap for future events & contracts.
We have a wealth of advice that can help you with this, from blogs on getting perfect profile photos and showreels, to advice on how to write your online profile or bio.
Our advice for entertainers, which covers everything from an 8 Day Inspiration Challenge to help you perfect your act and get more gigs, to tips on being audition-ready and keeping your voice in tip top condition can be found here – and we will be adding posts on keeping well in body and spirit during self-isolation very soon.
We wish each and every one of you well over this strange time, and look forward to a time soon when we will all be able to get back to what we do best – providing entertainment and smiles :-)
If we can help you with any support, contact us via social media or email us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org