What is the current impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on your sector, and what further support is needed from the Welsh and UK Governments both to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and enable the post-pandemic recovery?

Non-professional impact

-          Evidence of existential crisis through bids to our own Tŷ Cerdd Lottery strands (particularly the Emergency funds we distributed in January 2021 from Welsh Government and ACW)

-          Those groups that own buildings (eg lots of brass bands) and that have ongoing commitments have been brought to the edge by lost income; for others it has stopped forward planning, as many accounts are back to zero

-          Wellbeing crisis – especially older people & rural communities – for many people (especially older people) music is the only activity outside the home

-          There are examples of community groups that have lost huge swathes of members; eg older people. Not all will have the confidence to return. Funds need to be allocated for extensive outreach work across the sector, this applies to all age ranges

-          Welsh-language link – community music-making is a vital lifeline for the Welsh language

-          Drop in standards – concern as to level of music-making.” If we’re not as good can we still sell tickets at same prices?” etc

-          The knock-on impact on community cohesion

-          Professional freelancers suffering as result – how do we ensure freelancers remain in the community sector, what support can be offered?

-          More recovery funds needed


Music education

-          A decline in singing and woodwind/brass within school.

-          Music is vital for young people’s health and wellbeing and a way of teaching Welsh history and culture. Serious decline in understanding importance of Welsh music, in widest sense, in younger generations



-          Real concern among more established artists, creators, and freelance people in middle-age onwards that their careers will not resume to pre-pandemic levels, ever. Of the opportunities that are available, there is a generally accepted view that organisations are more likely to go to younger people because of the perceived (and arguably real) need for support at that level.  Anecdotal evidence of artists being forced into early retirement or having to make career change in 50s.

-          Risk averse – there is a significant worry about artistic risk being unwelcomed, and the danger of our culture becoming painfully conservative in a bid to make up commercial losses


What is needed?

-          Guidance – more restrictions for cultural sector than sporting sector; work with ISM, MU, Making Music, us, ABO, etc etc

-          Travel / quarantine rules – planning for professional ensembles in Wales. Within UK but obviously also overseas travel;

-          Insurance for events – same applies to amateur groups, who will perhaps be more cautious

-          Government stepping in and being insurer of last resort


Disability & access

-          7 principles of inclusive recovery – these must be front and centre

-          Covid passport debate – don’t use this to create yet another barrier / way of excluding people

-       Enabling disabled artists to restart – not going back to what was before. Funds, support for people with additional requirements, eg access to instruments as well as tutors trained to support young disabled musicians

-       Action on digital poverty

-       Action on lack of infrastructure (physical, transport) that is creating unequal access

What issues should the committee prioritise in planning our work programme for the immediate and longer term?

-          Supporting pipeline (education, artist development, sector development) that plays into WG’s delivery – Creative Wales

-          Giving culture as much support as sport

-          Cultural contract becoming opportunity for manifestation of Wellbeing of future Generations Act

-          Culture being opportunity for regeneration, community cohesion

-          Discouraging the hierarchy of genres & artforms (particularly through education)

-          Partnerships that work – enabling arts and culture to come out of a silo and connect with other agendas – housing, health, Natural Resources Wales,

-          Culture & arts – potency across portfolios; emphasising what arts can do in fields beyond - natural environment – climate emergency, community ; creativity; skill development; creating society that wants to bring down barriers; adaptive people flexible; communication of life experience.

-          A real emphasis on long-term strategy. Far too much arts policy is dependent on funding cycles that are woefully short - even before Covid this made planning extremely difficult for arts orgs.

How does Brexit and the new UK-EU relationship affect you or your organisation? What support have you received to respond to the changes? What further support, if any, is needed from Welsh and UK Governments?

-          Impact on retailers (eg print music publishers & CD sales) selling products to the EU, with huge delays and blockages at customrs. We are seeing customers moving to larger wholesalers or retailers with a base in Europe – impacting on smaller, independent businesses (including us) in Wales

-          Replacement for structural funds – eye on knock-on effects

-          Working more closely with DCMS & UK partner organisations

-          Cultural links with other territories. Priority: working to develop international links and leapfrog England; working with WAI & US (Ty Cerdd is currently gaining international traction with partners such as ISCM [International Society for Contemporary Music] & IAMIC [International Association of Music Information Centres])

-          Understanding between peoples / nations (eg UNESCO Decade of Indigenous Languages)

-          British Council Wales – opportunity for further partnership development

-          More information and guidance needed for musicians needing/wanting to tour Europe or orgs wanting to host Europeans, and all pan-Euro collaboration possibilities

-          If this is to be the beginning of a ‘different-but-fruitful’ relationship with EU rather than a calamitous break then we need a wholehearted commitment to developing cross-nation possibilities for years to come - long strategy rather than short term scramble