'The Live Music World Is Facing Annihilation'; Melbourne Bar Owner's Call For Action

17 March 2020 | 5:19 pm | Staff Writer

"We need you."

As festivals, tours and cultural events around the world cancel or postpone en masse in reaction to the rising threat of coronavirus, there's not a branch or layer of the entertainment industry that isn't looking at hard days on the horizon.

As reported by ilostmygig.net.au - the Australian Music Industry Network and Australia Festivals Association's joint effort to track the ongoing financial damage of the virus - "small to medium businesses and independent contractors working in the creative industries" have already been put out of pocket $100 million since Saturday 14 Mar.

In the face of the devastating effects this revenue loss presents to the nation's gig economy, Bar Open owner Jon Perring has made a statement addressing the dire straits that some of the most vulnerable people who comprise our industry - the "bartenders, musicians, sound engineers, cleaners" - are now navigating.

"The Live Music world is facing annihilation," says Perring. "I don’t want the Tote and Bar Open to become some a footnote in a book on the good old days."

"We are losing gigs at such a rate that I will have to put off most, if not all our staff."

"25% of the Australian workforce is casual. How will these people pay rent and eat if they can’t work?"

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Falling well under the government-mandated 500-person cap on non-essential gatherings, Perring has also proposed several precautionary measures in the hopes of maintaining Bar Open - which has "hosted roots, rock n roll and general brouhaha since 1998" - as a viable gig venue without exacerbating the spread of COVID-19.

These include reducing capacity to 1.5m person-to-person density, applying stringent hygiene procedures for serving drinks and cleaning, sterilising microphones, only accepting cashless transactions, and enforcing 1.5m customer distance from staff.

"Currently," says Perring, "the government has closed events over 500 capacity. This is based on their expert health advice and it’s the law."

"So, we are trading on until the time that the health authority’s edict that it is unsafe to do otherwise."

"We have no other choice!"

"So please come. Please play a gig. Come while you can and while it's safe. Please play a gig. We NEED you."

Read Perring's full statement below.

For more information about how COVID-19 is impacting the music industry, follow the link here.