Dave Faulkner Pans Andrew Bolt's Attack On Live Music Funding

1 August 2013 | 12:58 pm | Staff Writer

Hoodoo Gurus frontman Dave Faulkner takes Andrew Bolt to task over his live music column this morning.

Hoodoo Gurus frontman and New South Wales live music ambassador Dave Faulkner has hit back at controversial columnist Andrew Bolt this morning, offering the following rebuttal to Bolt to theMusic.com.au.

Dave Faulkner Responds To Andrew Bolt

I'm kind of pissed off at Andrew Bolt's column today in the Herald Sun about the new federal government Live Music funding initiative. Firstly he conveniently omits the fact that the $560,000 is to be used over three years (the better to cause outrage to his readers at supposed government waste) and in the story he also quotes me, misrepresenting something I posted on our Facebook page on Sunday, the day after the announcement.

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And here's the link to my Facebook post, which I posted twice (due to my getting a couple of things wrong):

The quote attributed to me, something about me not being aware of being a “live music ambassador” was something I chose to begin my Facebook post with on Sunday, mostly as a zappy attention-getter for our page's visitors.

Yes, it's true that when I read the SMH report on the Arts Minister's speech (which is where I was named as a "live music ambassador") I didn't immediately connect it with my conversation with Millie from APRA a couple of weeks earlier. That was when  she asked me if I would accept such a role. I don't know if she used the word "ambassador" at that time (she may have) but by last Sunday morning the whole thing had slipped my mind and I was quite surprised to see it in the news when I woke up.

Part of the reason I was shocked was that I was also feeling a little sheepish about that “ambassador” title right then because I had 'ducked' going to hear the Minister speak and launch the initiative at The Bald Stag in Parramatta the previous night. 

That was what I was trying to convey (obviously not very clearly) in my Facebook post however if Andrew Bolt had cared to look into it any further (and I'm sure he didn't as he never contacted me about it) he would have seen my comment BELOW that post where I explained about whether I had been asked (remember, this was written through the filter of my hazy Sunday morning powers of recollection),  wrote this:

“That probably happened and then it slipped my mind (I can be a bit vague about some things).”

I guess I'm upset because my throwaway Facebook post is now being used as a cudgel to belittle this positive initiative for live music, mainly to berate the supposedly spendthrift Rudd government. That I appeared unaware of my "ambassador" status was used by Bolt as proof that this initiative was an ersatz, quickly contrived thing.

The truth of the matter is that many people have been lobbying the government over many years to achieve just this outcome and it really should be seen as a starting point for even more engagement by government with the live music industry, hopefully at every level: federal, state and local. I suggest you talk to Dean Ormston, Ianto Ware or John Wardle to find out more about the many years of lobbying that it has taken to get this modest proposal endorsed by the current government.

There are very few overnight success stories in music and this certainly wasn't one.

Andrew Bolt's glib dismissal of the need for any involvement by the government with the multitude of issues that currently face our live music industry says more about how out of touch he is with the real world and modern Australia than anything else. This is a country whose people support live music to the tune of a billion dollars a year, netting our economy $650M million which goes towards paying the equivalent of 15,000 full-time workers annually. Just how big does an industry have to be before a blowhard like Andrew Bolt thinks it is one worthy of attention from the Australian government?

Dave Faulkner

Read Dave Faulkner's speech about the Sydney live music scene here.

Read last year's report on the revenue raised from live music in Australia - all $1.2 billion of it - here.

Speaking with theMusic.com.au earlier this week, Dr Ianto Ware mentioned the demand for help with the Australian live music scene was immense, from both within and outside of the local and state governments.

“It was good to see activity from local and state government and activists who were looking for advice to help their own communities, but it was also sad to see the amount of venues who were struggling.”