An Open Letter published today seeks to bring attention to the imminent closure of Victorian live music venues without further assistance from the Victorian Government. Signed by over 100 of Victoria’s live music venues, it calls for a clear and balanced roadmap for easing restrictions and increasing venue capacities. With the JobKeeper cliff approaching in just two weeks’ time, this is an urgent plea for action.
“Help us to preserve this vital cultural sector for the long term by increasing venue capacities now“, the Open Letter says.
The Open Letter has been signed by some of the country’s most beloved institutions. The Corner Hotel, The Espy, The Forum and The Tote are amongst those seeking clarity to preserve the vital cultural sector.
“Don’t be fooled — Victoria’s live music venues are open, but we are not ok.
Our live music venues reopened three months ago restricted to less than 30% of regular capacities, with the support of JobKeeper. Now JobKeeper is ending, the bills are piling up, and we cannot trade out of it. We call on the Victorian Government to urgently provide a clear and balanced roadmap for easing restrictions so that the live music industry can begin to trade sustainably.
Following 9 months of closure, Victoria’s live music venues recommenced operating in December 2020 with COVID safe capacity restrictions in place, based on a density quotient of 1 person per 2sqm. These restrictions mean our venues are operating at around 30% of their licensed capacity, resulting in a 70% drop in revenue whilst fixed costs including rent, insurance, utilities and staff remain static.
We applaud the Victorian Government for last year’s $15 million Live Music Venues Program, which helped save many Victorian venues from permanent closure, however the majority of venues are still severely debt laden from 9 months of closure and have only been able to reopen at such low capacities with the support of Jobkeeper.
The reopening of live music venues has seen Victorian artists performing again and our industry’s live music and hospitality workers back in employment. Help us to preserve this vital cultural sector for the long term by increasing venue capacities now.
LIVE MUSIC MATTERS AS MUCH AS THE TENNIS
Music is who we are. It is a cornerstone of Victoria’s identity as the “creative state”, it is something that we are known for around the world, and it is a huge economic driver. From Victoria’s small clubs to our iconic band rooms, our venues are the places where you go to listen, dance, share and celebrate music. Our stages nurture emerging artists and host Australia’s and the world’s biggest touring acts.Victoria’s live music venues have an audience of 110,000+ every Saturday night — more than an AFL grand final. The industry generates tens of thousands of jobs, from musicians and DJs to bookers, promoters, publicists, venue operators, hospitality and bar staff, technicians, security staff and a vast network of ancillary suppliers and contractors.
Music venues are the critical infrastructure of this industry.
If our venues disappear, the live music economy will disappear, and our cultural heritage will go with it. Australian artists will have fewer places to perform, to grow, to find fans.
Our music venues can not survive without Victorian Government intervention. So please, protect our music venues. Support our artists. Save our scene.”
For more info visit saveourscene.com.au