Over the past few months, Australia’s music industry banded together to raise millions upon millions of dollars in relief and recovery funding following the bushfire crisis. Now, that same industry is facing its own unprecedented crisis and needs desperate help.
With Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially advising that from tomorrow, all non-essential public gatherings over 500 people should be cancelled in a bid to limit the spread of coronavirus — and announcing plans to pass the directive into legislation ASAP — Live Performance Australia is calling on the government to provide urgent clarification on the projected timeframe of the ban, which will impact countless gigs and festivals across the country.
“This is an unprecedented crisis and will have a catastrophic impact on jobs and revenue as shows and festivals across the country are cancelled. What we need now is a timeframe so companies can plan for closure,” CEO Evelyn Richardson said in a statement.
“The brutal reality is that many performing arts companies do not have the financial reserves to ride out a period of enforced closure. Knowing now if we are planning for a one, two or three-month closure period is vital.”
Richardson continued: “Our preliminary numbers indicate that over three months, half a billion dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs will be lost. Companies across the country have been running solvency tests all weekend.”
LPA is one of a number of music organisations in a freshly spawned coalition calling on the Australian government for an urgent emergency industry support package to deal with the imminent loss of potentially thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in income across the live performance sector.
Those organisations include APRA AMCOS, ARIA, Australian Hotels Association, PPCA, Live Performance Australia, Australian Music Industry Network, Australian Festivals Association, AIR, Australian Artist Managers and the Live Music Office.
A statement from the coalition reads: “In the short term, live events and the hospitality sector should be part of any stimulus or grants package. In the longer term, government needs to consider a broad-based approach, such as a tax offset, to ensure the live music and performance sector can revive and recover from events of the last 12 months.”
Germany and Denmark have already confirmed support for their respective music industries, while other countries, including the UK, are scoping assistance as part of their event bans.
Richardson added: “The cancellation of live performance events of all shapes and sizes is already decimating jobs and income for those who work in the industry, and this will only escalate in the coming days and weeks. Performers, production and technical crews, venue and hospitality staff are being hurt right now and government support is required to get them through this extremely difficult time.
“Our industry needs support now, and it will also need a recovery plan for the months ahead when we reactivate. We look forward to working with government in the days ahead to get this into place as a matter of urgency.”
The government’s emergency ban on public gatherings, which applies to events where more than 500 people are attending, will come into effect from tomorrow (March 16) but will not extend to schools, universities, public transport or airports.
Meanwhile, Vivid Sydney is the latest event to be cancelled for 2020 while Record Store Day has been postponed til later in the year.
Thousands of domestic events have already been cancelled or postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic intensifies, including but not limited to Download Festival, Tasmania’s Dark Mofo and the Under The Southern Stars concert series.
For the latest updates, head to our dedicated Coronavirus 2020 Feed.