As Covid restrictions ravage the music industry across Australia, QMusic, the peak industry body for the music industry in Queensland, has come out swinging for its members and the wider industry for more support with an open letter to the Queensland Government, pleading for more assistance.
Live music venues across the state urgently need a financial support package to help them survive the next four to six months.
In the spirit of last night’s State of Origin opener in Townsville, QMusic is asking the Queensland Government to throw the live music industry the same lifeline the NSW Government recently threw with their $24 million live music package that will help venues stay open whilst operating under capacity restrictions. Let’s even the score.
QMusic outgoing CEO Angela Samut has been working weekly with Arts Queensland and the government over the past 12 months. “A thriving live music economy is critical to the livelihoods and sustainability of contemporary musicians and the Queensland music industry as a whole.
“We appreciate Minister Enoch and the Queensland Government’s support to-date including the stART quick response grants and two rounds of live music venue grants, however as most live music venues are still operating at just 30 per cent, we urgently need significantly more funding to help them get across the 2021 finish line.
Through our close work with venues across the state since the initial lockdown, we know all of these small business owners are at an absolute breaking point. They need a lifeline and they need it now,” Ms Samut said.
QMusic Committee Member and co-owner of Brisbane’s The Triffid and The Fortitude Music Hall John Collins says the situation is at crunch time. “We simply cannot sustain business and jobs. Promoter and public confidence are volatile regarding purchasing tickets due to snap lockdowns and cancellations, and dependent on what is being portrayed in the media. If we don’t get support, there won’t be any live music venues left,” Mr Collins said.
This week Angela Samut along with President Natalie Strijland and Committee Member John Collins again met with Chief Health Officer, Dr Jeannette Young to discuss capacity restrictions for live music venues.
Along with capacity restrictions, the end of JobKeeper, international borders closed until at least 2022, interstate lockdowns, hotspots and quarantine requirements, has seen our live music venues brought to their knees and without a big financial commitment now from the state government, we may lose an industry which has long been the envy of the other states.
The Queensland Premier’s support of the live acts from last night’s Origin line-up including Busby Marou, Jessica Mauboy and Birds of Tokyo who performed along with The Veronicas, Genes, Late November, Tim Rogers and Dave Lane, Sarah Little and Elise Tietzel helped make this event a major economic boost for Townsville.
“This is exactly the end game result we are fighting for asking the state government to invest in live music to benefit all Queenslanders, stimulating millions in economic activity and thousands of jobs,” said Ms Samut. “The knock-on effects from live music venues are significant and positively impact other sectors including hospitality, accommodation and cultural tourism.”
So, c’mon Queensland Government – we need to even up the score and this is a win for Queensland you can make happen.