What Canberra's Doing To Make Itself 'Cool'

4 November 2015 | 3:21 pm | Staff Writer

ACT's music report.

Canberra's music scene is about to get a big boost as plans are in motion to develop music and culture practises in the state, with an emphasis of creating a 'Cool Music Capital'.

A report released today by MusicACT and the Live Music Office has outlined a 25-step plan to enhance Canberra's live music scene and support its development.

While there are many opportunities for musicians to perform, many artists, producers and venues face challenges from "red tape and poor alignment of regulation".

Some of the recommendations from the report are to:

Don't miss a beat with our FREE daily newsletter

  • Develop an overarching ACT Government Live Music Policy
  • Establish an ACT Live Music Regulation Roundtable to address the long-term issues impacting the cultural development of the state. 
  • Amend the Liquor Act to include a reference to the live music, arts and entertainment sector. 
  • Introduce a liquor permit scheme.
  • Exempt non-profit community organisations from having to obtain a license to sell liquor at up to six small fundraising events a year. 
  • Introduce a new planning process for low risk arts and cultural venues with an associated Building Code variation.
  • Investigate policy redevelopment for the reuse of buildings for creative use. 
  • Technical support for the creative sector
  • Ensure conveyancing references that acknowledge arts and cultural land use. 
  • Develop planning provisions for residential and mixed use development to attentuate external noise
  • Support the availability of a 300-400 seat recital hall for classical music and a 200-400 capacity venue for contemporary music. 
  • Request that the Government provide seed funding of $40,000 per year for three years to support a re-branded CBR Music Awards.

To further emphasise the need for ACT to give its music and culture scene a boost, the state proved to have a hugely positive influence on the country's live music scene as a whole in 2014.

As the report shows, exactly 775,729 people living in the nation's capital attended a ticketed or free music event in 2014 and $8.9 million of the country's ticket sales were made in Canberra. 

MusicACT President Gavin Findlay believes an improved policy on Canberra's live music scene is well overdue. 

"Government figures show that the number of people that attend live music concerts and events in the ACT actually exceeds that of the cultural institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia," he says. 

"Not only that, but for every dollar spent on live music, three more are spent on food, drink and travel. With the help of the Live Music Office, we've put forward a realistic set of policy and actions that would give the ACT the regulatory framework it needs to really be the Coolest Little Capital."

Similarly, Live Music Office Policy Director John Wardle says that with better regulation the state's sector will only grow. 

"Addressing land use conflict, and appropriately defining low risk premises that wish to provide entertainment will support both existing and new venues," Wardle explains.

"Establishing an ongoing ACT Music Forum to support the development of the music sector and an associated co regulation roundtable will build capacity, relationships, and align regulatory and cultural sector functions and priorities."

"Until now, only Victoria and South Australia have strategic plans for contemporary music, and those states subsequently able to demonstrate real results in music and cultural development. It's great to see the ACT music sector engaged and active in this policy space. These issues aren't going away. We very much hope that the opportunity this report provides for a long term vision can be progressed".

The full 2015 report can be downloaded from the MusicACT website