Arts funding announcements ‘bittersweet’ says freelancer

Government funding announcements for the arts have been deemed “bittersweet” by an industry freelancer, who has found temporary work in a supermarket.

Isabella Di Biase, 39, had worked as a light sound engineer for seven years at famous venues such as the O2, Union Chapel and Scala.

“This doesn’t mean that this money will come to us. It’s still very difficult for us to find work, so it’s bittersweet,” she said of the grants announced as part of the Government’s £1.6 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

“There are hundreds of thousands of freelance jobs still at risk and counting,” she told the PA news agency.

She worked on singer Lewis Capaldi shows
She worked on singer Lewis Capaldi shows

“We need psychological support and reassurance that the Government is not going to forget about us.”

Di Biase, who worked on Lewis Capaldi shows as an in-house engineer, said she found a job as a customer assistant in a supermarket after her work was cancelled amid the pandemic.

“The contracts are temporary and they don’t give you a financially stable situation”, she said of the contract, which ended in July.

Di Biase said her work “disappeared all of a sudden because all the festivals were cancelled”.

The Government must “keep listening to our requests, rethink the furlough scheme and tailor some of the funding to the live events industry. We must not be forgotten”, she said.

“It’s not just a job – it’s a passion and it takes a long time to perfect our skills. Without this kind of expertise, there won’t be the successful live event industry that there was before.”