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Tallinn launches support measure for live music venues

2019-2020 season opener at Philly Joe's Jazz Club in Tallinn.
2019-2020 season opener at Philly Joe's Jazz Club in Tallinn. Source: Silver Tõnisson

Starting Monday, July 11, small and medium-sized live music venues in the Estonian capital can apply for a programming grant for the 2022 fall and winter season. All indoor venues that regularly organize concerts and with a maximum capacity of up to 1,000 are eligible to apply.

This support measure is intended for permanent concert venues that both run the venue as well as organize an in-house music program, Kaarel Oja, Tallinn's deputy mayor for culture, said according to a press release.

"Live music clubs play a very important role in our musical life, and it is their continued activity that helps to keep the music scene constantly evolving and diverse," Oja said. "With the fall-winter programming grant, we want to give them the confidence to create an even bolder and more well-timbered program."

In addition to individual events, it's important to support sustained activity in the music sector in general as well, he noted, adding that piloting such a support measure is a step in that direction.

According to the deputy mayor, another incentive behind the support measure also stems from Tallinn's objective as a UNESCO City of Music to be the best city in the world to create and share music.

"State or municipal support for live music clubs is common practice in Europe, but it has not yet been systematically implemented in Estonia," he noted.

"The multiplicity and diversity of live music clubs and their successful and professional operation create the necessary conditions for the broader development of the music sector and help keep Tallinn's music scene thriving," Oja said. "Support for clubs gives venues the opportunity to put together a more varied program, giving a chance to start-up groups that have not yet developed a solid audience and for whom organizing concerts is a greater economic risk."

The deputy mayor for culture explained that, in the longer term, if the measure justifies itself and is continued in the future, it will hopefully serve to contribute to the emergence of new venues "that will enrich our musical landscape and thus offer an even more plentiful cultural calendar."

Venue operators applying for the grant must submit their planned program for September 1 through December 31, 2022. Grants will be awarded covering up to 25 percent of program costs up to a total of €15,000 per applicant.

Eligible costs include staff cost, such as program manager's salary, musicians' fees, transport and accommodations costs, the hire and installation of stage, sound, lighting and video equipment as well as marketing and communications costs.

To qualify, venue operators must also coordinate with the Tallinn Municipal Police Department, their local district government and the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and comply with recommendations and regulations aimed at ensuring public order, including by providing information about its activities, avoiding noise problems and ensuring security.

The total budget for the support measure this year is €100,000. Applications are open from July 11 through August 8; the grant commission will announce its decisions by the end of August.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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