He entertainment sector It has been one of the most affected by the restrictions imposed, such as the suspension of all kinds of acts that involve crowds, as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This year there have been neither festivals nor festivals, so the businessmen of orchestras and fairgrounds will pass, according to the forecasts, 18 months without income but with fixed expenses, and they denounce that the aid received so far "they have been insufficient".
"We have not worked at all. Considering how little has been celebrated in January and February, the vast majority of companies we have billed 95% less than last year", says Carlos de la Calle, president of the Acople association, the most important in the sector.
The festivals, like many shows, need their audience and crowds to be profitable, something that is incompatible with preventive measures against the coronavirus. The Government granted certain freedom to the autonomous communities so that they were the ones to decide if the health situation allows the celebration of festivals or other types of shows.
"The brown has been passed on to the municipalities, but the reality is that a town councilor is not going to play a job to hire us in an act in which thousands of people congregate and in which a regrowth ", assumes Vicente Herrera, manager of Culthisme SL (Culture, History and Markets).
The restrictions to the activity decreed for health reasons have caused cancellation of shows, fairs, festivals and festivities, acts that constitute the main, and often the only source of income for this union. To this must be added the seasonal character of a sector that concentrates its business between the months of April and October, so the coronavirus has fully impacted its strong work season.
Both De La Calle and Herrera agree that contributions have been scarce and insufficient. The president of Acople points out that the Junta de Castilla y León has been the only community that has launched a line of aid, endowed with two million euros to support the self-employed showmen and promoters of orchestras that have been left without activity this summer. They will be eligible for grants of up to 1,650 euros.
"That amount does not solve anything. Companies continue to maintain current expenses, taxes from last year, infrastructure maintenance, etc. are still being paid. It has been a small step but, given the need we have, it is insufficient ", laments De La Calle.
On the other hand, the Department of Culture and Tourism of this region is studying the creation of a fund for collaboration programs with professional associations in sectors of seasonal activity affected by the suspension of popular festivals.
The Castilian-Leonese Culture Minister, Javier Ortega, explained that the objective is to launch agreements with non-profit associations and entities "that are dedicated to defending the interests of the cultural sectors within the seasonal activity."
From the Ministry of Culture and Tourism they assured that "initiatives to promote one or several sectors will be supported, as well as the training aimed at professionals based in Castilla y León will be strengthened. On the other hand, situation studies will be considered and improvement over the sectors ".
The forecasts are not very encouraging. "The public administration has to make an effort to help us get ahead. We need more incentives," says De La Calle. "They have treated culture unfairly. We understand that health comes first, but without economy there is no health either."
The president of Acople insists that "the situation is dramatic and catastrophic". About 300,000 families are dedicated to show business in Spain, 700,000 indirectly, according to Herrera, and many have had to "find another job to live and eat."
By now, showbiz workers have gone from complaints to action and They have organized a massive mobilization on September 17. Red Alert, which includes MUTE (United Mobilization of Show Workers) and other associations, calls for this demonstration that will take place in 26 cities.
The organizers of this great mobilization urge "the government of Spain and the Ministries of Labor, Finance, Economic Affairs, Culture and Sports, and Industry, to take urgent measures in the coming weeks to guarantee the survival of the sector, in addition to creating a immediate a sectoral table that defines the needs of the same, affected by the seasonality and intermittency of the activity, giving priority to regulation through the negotiation of a sectoral collective agreement at national level ".
"Despite the circumstances and the situation, we will continue fighting," says Carlos de la Calle.