This blog post is necessarily a bit longer…
TO VERY BRIEFLY RECAP, we, at Midnight Mango work in live music bookings, and there’s not been a lot of those over the last year!
Up till October of last year we were reliant on the government’s furlough scheme, but since then we have been kept working by a different scheme called the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF). This has been vastly better for us, since it has meant we can continue to work, whereas on furlough our staff could not do any revenue generating work – which was frankly pretty soul destroying.
Of course we didn’t just get the CRF automatically, we had to apply for it, which was a lengthy and difficult process. One of the four questions in the application asked us how we would address the Equality Act (2010) and improve the diversity of the people we work with and for. This forced me to go a bit deeper than just having an equality policy in our handbook – which of course we have had for many years.
Booking, especially in the contemporary sector is notoriously dominated by white men. It also has a reputation of being quite aggressive and intimidating. That’s not the way I want our company to be, but addressing that doesn’t just happen by accident.
Anyway… when I was writing the application, one of the commitments I made was to add a clause into our artist contracts to address Equality, Diversity and Inclusion with our promoter clients. They are the ones who buy performances from the artists we represent.
It’s been on my to-do list since then, and as we were coming to the end of the funding period, I had just started to write the clause. All good so far…
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Have you been following the recent debacle ay Pontins? The company, were recently exposed as having a racist policy regarding who they allowed to stay at their accommodation. It’s shocking. There’s been plenty in the news – for example
One of our artists Ferocious Dog was due to play an event at Pontins – they took the reasoned position that they couldn’t play the event because of the company’s overtly racist policy. The promoter, Fuelled By Cider, had no knowledge of Pontin’s policy when they hired the venue and as such they are largely victims in the situation as well. (Comment from the promoter at the end of this blog) Pontins have said they have reversed their racist policy – which by the way is illegal under the Equality Act (2010) – the promoter and Pontins are now working to use the event to highlight Pontins’ mistake and use the event to shine a light on corporate racism.
So Pontins is liable to prosecution from the victims. They broke the law. It is less clear how that relates to this event.
As booking agents our first consideration is always to the artists we represent, however in this case the situation was not explicitly covered by our contract. Since the band cancelled their appearance, they exposed themselves contractually.
As it happens, the promoter themselves, Fuelled By Cider, could not have been more decent in their approach to Ferocious Dog’s wishes and they have respected their principled position.
So I thought I’d better get on and write that clause.
This is the first draft, I really welcome your comments…
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Clause
According to the UK Equality Act (2010), it is illegal for people to discriminate, harass or victimise another person because they have any, or are perceived to have any of the nine protected characteristics defined as; race, gender, gender reassignment, disability, sexual orientation, sex, religion or belief, marriage and civil partnerships, and age.
Furthermore they are encouraged to consider Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in their mission and policy. Where the UK Equality Act (2010) is directly contravened by the promoter, or organisations directly hired by the promoter, as pertaining to this event, this will be considered a breach of contract and a legitimate reason for The Artiste to cancel their performance. In these circumstances The Artiste will not be liable financially to the promoter or any other organisation associated with this performance.
Comment from the promoter: Fuelled By Cider (Not Pontins)
“The situation at Pontins exposed a very troubling and also very complex issue for us and the many other outside promoters. Pulling out of the event would have threatened our entire business while not actually engaging the issue in a constructive and positive way. We wholly support the criticism of Pontins’ actions, however feel that a mass boycott of their holiday parks would be hugely detrimental to jobs, low cost holidays and local economies as well as artists and promoters – none of whom were involved in the issue.
With the support of the majority of our artists, ticket holders and traveller representative organisations, we are now using the event as a platform for education, celebration and inclusivity, including the addition of performers from Traveller communities.
The judgement and action plan agreed with the Equalities & Human Rights Commission is legally binding and will set the standard for Pontins and other similar organisations going forward. We believe that conciliation, education and progress is the best path for everyone and will strive to incorporate the lessons learned in our future business.”