How much do music fees pay

Whether visitors actually come to an open-air festival depends heavily on the weather. There is only one thing that organizers can count on with certainty: The costs for the Gema will definitely be due. At village festivals, open airs or bathing events, such as now in the Buschmühle in summer. Swimming master Peter Haufe was happy that around 350 guests came despite the rainy weather. In the end, he brought in a result that was around plus-minus zero. 160 euros went to Gema. "But we also had to shoot 1000 euros out of our own pockets," recalls the swimming master. Now a fee increase of up to 600 percent is under discussion. Then the festival will have to die, announces Haufe. Co-organizer and DJ Heiko Grundmann expects that the club and village culture will suffer and even clubs could go to their knees. After all, “don't just rip off the Gema”. Insurance and taxes are also due.

There is now resistance to the practices of Gema. Yesterday, more than 106,000 people signed a petition to the Bundestag calling for a reform of this society. It is primarily about the calculation bases for small organizers: At the moment, every village association has to pay the amount calculated in advance, even if the expected number of visitors does not come. That is exactly the injustice, says Nils Schieblich from the Pulsnitzer Carnival Association and would like to sign the petition immediately: "We even have to pay for the rehearsals." It depends on the size of the hall and not on the actual number of guests or income.

Calculation unfair

With up to 800 seats, the hall in the Pulsnitzer Schützenhaus is relatively large and usually only really full before Mardi Gras. Still, the Gema was closed for a long time. 3000 euros were due in the previous season. And the Kamenz organizer Lars Juschten complains: Whether 20 or 2000 people come, the Gema cashes in full. 1000 euros at large events come together quickly. The orientation to the room size is completely wrong, says Lutz Göpner, head of the mixed choir Pulsnitz. Without the courtesy of the host from the Schützenhaus when renting the hall, "that could be fatal for the club". On the other hand, it is important to protect the rights of the artists, said Göpner. "Correct," says Lars Juschten, "but not without consideration of losses."

The boss of the Bautzen stone house sees the dispute differently. On the one hand, the protests are understandable. On the other hand, young bands, for example, would also benefit from the fees: "In the end, less Gema also means less variety of music." However, Lars Juschten estimates that, as far as he knows the scene, "not much has arrived there yet."