Politicians Urge Govt To Support Music Industry As COVID Crisis Worsens

18 August 2021 | 2:14 pm | Staff Writer

“The risk is a silent summer, with no music."

As the COVID crisis worsens in NSW and Victoria and live events continue to be wiped out, politicians are putting pressure on the government to provide financial support to the music sector.

Yesterday, the industry took another huge hit when it was revealed that Bluesfest’s rescheduled October date had been pushed next April, and the annual Bryon Bay festival is just one of countless major events being forced to constantly postpone or cancel.

Following news that Bluesfest had been rescheduled again, Shadow Minister for Music John Graham called on the NSW Government to deliver its promised business disruption fund and provide a roadmap out of COVID, something the industry has been rallying for since last year.

“The risk is a silent summer, with no music,” Graham said.

“We can avoid that with vaccination and proper planning. The Government needs to deliver on its promises.

“Both of these measures were promised – a business interruption fund and a COVID roadmap. The music sector needs them. The Government should deliver them. They will make all the difference this summer.

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“Festivals and venues need to plan ahead now for events over summer and beyond.”

Victorian MP Fiona Patten, Leader of Reason, has today called for the State Government to reintroduce the Live Music Venues Program, which last year provided $15m in cash to much-loved venues across the state.

Patten noted the two current State Government grants open to venues weren’t adequate, because you need a food license to be eligible for the Hospitality Venue Fund, and the Events Support Package only compensates for one cancelled gig.

“Until we can safely have live music back, the government must support the industry,” Patten said.

“I'm not sure who thinks money for one cancelled gig is anywhere near enough.

“We need a simple process that recognizes the gig culture of Melbourne, live music venues don’t host one event in a month, they do four or five a-week.

“The Arts need state and federal government support until we can gather safely again - it’s as simple as that.”

“If that means support them until November, support them until November.”

Patten has also thrown her support behind Alex Lahey’s open letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison which calls for an insurance scheme and wage subsidies program for the arts and entertainment industry.

"As the demise of the arts and entertainment industry continues, coupled with a proven inadequate vaccination rollout, I want to ask the Federal Government, what is the roadmap for providing support to the entertainment sector?” Lahey asked in the letter.

"Tens of thousands of gigs are cancelled with every month that passes. The necessary snap lockdown strategies, in particular, bring a complete lack of ability to plan and budget for gigs and events, causing collective mental health and confidence to continue to slip with every postponement and cancellation."

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has opened the second round of the Live Performance Support program, with eligible promoters and suppliers in the state able to apply for funding if they have been affected by cancellations between 27 May and 2 September this year.

“We know how much work and preparation goes into the staging of a live performance event and how many people are impacted when an event has to be cancelled – that is why we are providing this tailored support,” Minister for Creative Industries Danny Pearson.

“Whether you work on stage or behind the scenes, if you have had an event cancelled during the recent lockdowns, I encourage you to apply for this second round of grants.

“We value our live performance sector and know that it has been an incredibly challenging period – so we listened to industry feedback and updated the guidelines to reach more people.”

The funding is part of the Government’s $20 million Victorian Events Support Package and applications are open now until September 8.

Click here for more details.