Throughout October, Arts Council England has distributed £409 million of the £500 set aside for their Culture Recovery Fund in three weekly rounds. The first two announcements sparked outcry among electronic music stakeholders after it came to light that certain organizations were awarded sizable sums while others were left to fend for themselves, and ticketing platform Skiddle has joined the conversation.
In an open letter, Skiddle founders Ben Sebborn and Rich Dyer highlighted aspects of how their company has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. As they don’t sell tickets in a physical outlet, lawmakers told them that their business did not qualify as “hospitality or cultural,” they said – so when the Culture Recovery Fund was announced, they didn’t seek out a grant.
“Skiddle took the decision not to apply, as we frankly did not fit the criteria as a cultural venue or host live events,” wrote Dyer and Sebborn. We felt, and still feel that the money was best distributed to the many thousands of amazing venues, promoters and arts organizations across the country that frankly, without you – Skiddle would be nothing.”
Dyer and Sebborn then took aim at similar organizations that applied for – and received – funding. “Imagine our sheer disgust then when the lists are published of who received grants, and amongst the many great people that received money, we see companies like Resident Advisor … or Ticketline … whilst at the same time some of the best venues and event creators in the country/the world were not successful as they ‘Didn’t fit the bill,’ they wrote.
Resident Advisor was awarded a grant for £750,000 in Round 1 of the Culture Recovery Fund, and Ticketline received $508,820 in Round 2. The latter announcement also revealed that Boiler Room had been allocated £791,652, which raised eyebrows as the broadcasting platform posted net losses in the millions for both 2018 and 2019.
In Round 3, which comprised of grants ranging from £1-3 million, Arts Council England awarded London nightclub Fabric £1,514,262.
Image credit: Skiddle