Police and PRS: Paying the Bill

They’re probably two of the most hotly-disputed parts of a festival’s costs: Police and PRS.

PRS For Music recently carried out a review of the charges it levies on live music events, including how much festivals should be charged.

The review was prompted because at 3 per cent of gross ticket sales, its charges are among the lowest in the world.

However, festivals are already feeling the pinch of the VAT rise to 20% at a time when consumers are reluctant to spend – and organisers argue that it’s unfair to add further costs because they will have no option but to pass them on to customers.

No-one could possibly disagree that music writers should be properly compensated for their work, but some promoters wonder if it’s fair when – on the whole – the writers are being paid a fee for performing?

However, with more new revenue streams coming to festivals, shouldn’t the songwriters – on whose work many events are based around – should get a share of this income?

Paying the bill
Police forces charge for their presence at festivals, but the amount of costs seems to vary from Constabulary to Constabulary. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has issued guidance on how much forces should charge, suggesting the cost of policing should be set at £55 per hour, per officer – which takes into account pension contributions, overtime and more.

However, this has caused some debate among festivals, who feel that this is too expensive and that forces are “profiteering”.

Police presence is essential at festivals, but what's a fair price?

But why should the tax-payer stump-up for Policing an event which is being organised for the promoter’s financial gain? Especially at a time when Police budgets are already stretched to breaking point.

During the City Session London, in association with Academy Music Group, Doodson Entertainment and Music Tank, there will be an exclusive presentation of the findings of PRS For Music’s review of charges it levies on festivals.

There will also be chance to further dialogue with Derek Smith, Director of Finance at West Midlands Police and ACPO lead on Charging for Police Services.

Keith Gilbert – Director of Public Performance Sales – PRS For Music
Derek Smith – ACPO lead on Charging for Police Services
Jim King – Director Loud Sound (RockNess, Bestival, Camp Bestival) and board member of the Association of Independent Festivals
+ Others TBA

Date: 15 April, 2011, 11am-1pm
Venue: O2 Academy Islington, London
Tickets: £25
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