Monday, 5 July 2021

Split Singer Ursula Najev Refuses to Hold Concerts under Current Anti-COVID Rules

5 July, 2021 - Split singer Ursula Najev had to postpone and then cancel her concert series because of organisational difficulties arising from anti-COVID regulations. She posted a statement on her social media outlets that is causing quite a stir.

We are heading towards the middle of a very interesting summer. On one hand, tourist mubers are rising leading to a glimpse of optimism from many in Croatia. On the other, we are seeing increased tensions in the expectation of a potential new wave of infections. The dreaded delta strain of the COVID19 virus is in everyone's minds. The government is trying to disable the spread of the virus by imposing various restrictions. They are also trying to put pressure on those still not vaccinated to do so.

Protest against Aggressive Measures

Media statements by Split performing artist Ursula Najev have grabbed many people's attention. After spending years preparing her concert program „For Amy“, Ursula Najev had to cancel her performance on the Split Riva. The concert was scheduled for tomorrow. After the organisers switched venues and dates of subsequent perfomances because of related restrictions, they eventually cancelled the entire series. The singer spoke out over her social media outlets claiming she refuses to perform under the current conditions.

She claims discriminating against those not vaccinated and forcing people to pay for very expensive PCR tests in order to attend a performance is unethical. In fact, she compared singing in a concert like that to performing at Hitler's wedding. As Index.hr reports, Najev wrote she refuses to organise a concert her family members will not be able to attend. She went on to make a very compelling point by referring to government ideas on offering citizens free theatre or cultural events' tickets as a vaccination incentive. Instead, she proposes the government uses food and beverage vouchers as Croatians are rarely attending cultural events as it is.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Split based singer, her public statement does raise awareness on massive problems facing performance artists in Croatia. Culture and art were difficult fields to make a living in even before the COVID pandemic. In the past year and a half very little was done to try and alleviate the financial problems of people whose sector is one of the most brutally hit by the pandemic restrictions.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated COVID-19 section and choose your preferred language.

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Sunday, 14 March 2021

Niche that Brought Croatian Economy Billions Annually is Failing

March the 14th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is the biggest global threat to the event and music industry the world has seen. This industry used to bring the tourism-reliant Croatian economy billions in annual revenue, and now that huge drop is being painfully felt.

As Marija Crnjak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the pandemic calls into question the survival of the organisation of concerts and music festivals across Croatia, a business that generated at least 4.5 billion kuna in revenue in the years before this crisis struck. In order to enable Croatian residents and the country´s guests to enjoy this very important part of culture in the future, it is necessary to establish a recovery fund in the field of concert activities, warned the Association of Promo Concert Organisers, whose members have not earned income for a year now.

They noted that concerts and music festivals, since the very announcement of the pandemic, were the first thing to be disabled and will more than likely be the very last thing to come back to life. The problem affects not only them, but also a number of other activities that live off the festivals themselves, from companies which deal with renting out professional stage equipment, to travel companies, security companies, hauliers, and even transport logistics. What once brought the Croatian economy billions without the country itself really having to do much now seems a very distant memory indeed.

"In the year dominated by the pandemic, there was no possibility for the safe organisation of concerts or music festivals in the format that audiences and musicians expect and have come to know so well, but professional concert and festival organisers in Europe were preparing to create preconditions for safe concerts and music festivals in the style of the ¨new normal¨, they pointed out from the association which, as part of the European network of professional organisers of concerts and music festivals, worked on the possibilities of the safe holding of concerts and music festivals during the pandemic.

The Promo Association believes that the recovery fund should provide the necessary liquidity incentive to companies in the concert industry of at least 10 percent of the turnover seen back in pre-pandemic, record 2019 so that Croatia does not simply become a concert desert on the European map.

"The main criterion of the recovery fund should be the strengthening of international competitiveness in order to maintain and improve the concert, club and festival scene with both quality and quantity. The recovery fund should keep the jobs of educated professionals in the concert industry and should also help rental companies,¨ they stated from the association and reminded that the vast majority of EU countries have already supported their concert industry throughout 2020 and will continue to do so in 2021. What gave the Croatian economy billions in annual revenue surely deserves the same.

Meanwhile, research is being carried out on measures by which we might be able to safely hold music festivals even in these dire, depressing pandemic conditions, and in addition to vaccines, rapid coronavirus tests are the most important tool, as we wrote recently.

At the level of the European working group, a study was prepared for the safe holding of music festivals, in the preparation of which, in addition to music professionals, scientists also participated. In addition to the study, scientific research has been conducted in Germany and Spain to test the risk of spreading the infection at concerts and festivals indoors, and research is underway in the Netherlands and Israel to confirm the hypothesis of safe large outdoor events. Further research has been announced in Spain, France and Germany with a larger number of respondents in the audience.

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