Posted on Mar 18 20
COVID-19 – Earcandy’s Response by founder, Ben Rogers
The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every single one of us. As someone whose partner is an intensive care doctor; the impact on our healthcare system and the need for everyone to play their part in our society is very close to home. This is surely the time for us to come together as a community and help support each other through this.
Like some of you reading this, I was due to be married this summer, and the recent government sanctions, we have had to reschedule our wedding to later on in the year. With the daily changes, my team and I are sensitive to the worry that many of you will have about the effect of COVID-19 on your events if they were due to take place over the next few months. First and foremost, I believe that our health and the health of our loved ones is paramount.
Although I now spend my time running Earcandy, I spent a large proportion of my career as a professional session musician. I also see the concern that many performers have of the effect of events being postponed over the upcoming months, and believe that we at Earcandy have a responsibility to help support our performers however we can.
We have therefore introduced the following changes.
> What will happen If I need to postpone my event?
For events taking place over the next few months, most customers have asked to postpone their event until later on in the year, or next year due to concerns about COVID-19 and the new government sanctions.
There would normally be a mandatory £75 administration fee, which goes towards the administrative cost of changing the date of the booking and carrying out preparation for the new event details.
I have scrapped this mandatory £75 administration fee until further notice. This fee no longer applies if you would like to reschedule your event to a date in the future that the Act is still able to fulfil if the reschedule is a result of COVID-19 related matters.
Those customers that wish, may still pay an optional £75 charge, which will go directly into the pockets of our performers.
Please understand that changing booking dates does take a significant amount of work for our team. We did not build our systems to handle a large number of rebookings at one time, so we are currently developing a ‘bulk’ rescheduling tool which will help us to complete these changes quicker.
Once you have informed us of the request to change, we appreciate your patience, as we have a lot of events to manage and need to coordinate the change with both the personnel in the band and also any sound engineers involved – and a bit of ‘re-jigging’ is often required.
We will make contact with you once we have been able to complete the reschedule, or offer you some alternative dates if we cannot. Please note that whilst we understand you will want an update as soon as possible, the more phone calls and emails that our team receive asking for an update, the longer it will take them to coordinate the changes – so please be mindful before contacting for an update.
At the moment we are inundated with many requests, and we will out booking changes for customers whose events are scheduled to take place the soonest. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
Please also be aware that there will likely be limited availability for next year, so our advice would be to move your date to an ‘off-peak’ date, such as Jan – March or Mondays – Thursdays. This will increase your chance of all of your suppliers being available.
How does this affect events taking place next year?
If your event is due to take place next year, current projections indicate that you should not be disrupted by COVID-19 and that the current pandemic looks set to be over before the end of summer this year.
As we will have a number of customers postpone this year’s events until next year.
How is Earcandy protecting performers and guests at events?
We have introduced new guidance at events to help keep you and your guests, as well as our performers, safe. These include:
> Performers and sound engineers will not have physical contact with you and your guests. This includes shaking hands, high fiving etc. Please don’t be offended if they avoid physical contact – they will make up for it in their performance!
> We have asked performers to wash their hands thoroughly before and after each performance set. Please make sure that they have easy access to handwashing facilities with soap.
> We have advised singers not to share the same microphone
> All performers or personnel that show any signs of a cough or fever are asked not to work at your event. Instead, a suitable replacement that has been verified should be used.
What happens if the Act is sick and cannot perform?
Unlike most agencies, Earcandy’s model is very well positioned to ensure that your event can take place even if one member is unable to perform, this is because we work with a small pool of performers.
How else are you helping performers?
We believe that the UK’s music industry and the people that make it up are an asset to the country. With the closure of many theatres, performers are the ones who are likely to feel the hit the most.
We are currently discussing with the Arts Council, the Musicians Union and local councils for solutions on how we can help support our performers through a difficult few months.
We will be announcing some new measures shortly.
We will be monitoring the situation closely, and should anything change, we will update our guidance accordingly.
Over the next few months, we are expecting an increase in customer queries, so on behalf of my team and I, I would like to thank you for your patience as we prioritise communicating with those customers whose events are set to take place the soonest,
My very best wishes