Crowd at Billy Joel's 2022 Always Live concert at the MCG
Crowd at Billy Joel's 2022 Always Live concert at the MCG | Photo by Chris Putnam/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Peak Live Music Bodies Welcome Victorian Government’s Budget Announcement

The Victorian government unveiled the state’s 2023/2024 budget yesterday (Tuesday, 23rd May), following through with its 2022 election promises and confirming a multi-million dollar injection into the state’s live music industry over the next four years. Among the government’s announcement were a $23 million boost to the state’s Major Events Fund. A $20 million investment over two years has been announced for the state’s Always Live program which, in 2022, brought the Foo Fighters to Geelong, Nick Cave to Hanging Rock and Billy Joel to the MCG.

Elsewhere in the budget, the government allotted a $2.5 million commitment over four years to music festivals across the state, while a $7.5 million Live Music Performers Fund will assist “thousands of Victorian musicians and artists to pack venues across the state and perform 10,000 gigs over the next four years.” A quarter of the gigs supported by the government will be staged in regional Victoria.

The 2023/2024 Victorian Budget Includes $20 Million for the State’s Always Live Program

Other announcements included $2 million to teach songwriting across high schools in the state, and a “new planning overlay to protect our iconic live music venues for decades to come.” $2 million will also be invested over four years into the mental health and wellbeing of the state’s creative workforce through music industry charity Support Act, who provide crisis relief services to industry workers.

The country’s peak live music bodies have welcomed the budget. Live Performance Australia Chief Executive Evelyn Richardson said it was “hugely encouraging” to see the state government recognise “the huge economic, social and cultural potential of live music and performance.”

“COVID took a devastating toll on our industry, and these measures will ensure we continue to rebuild successfully,” Richardson added. Mitch Wilson, managing director of the Australian Festival Association, said it remains a “challenging time” for festival organisers, citing rising costs associated with staging an event. “The Budget support will help keep Victorian festivals on the map, supporting artists, attracting audiences and adding to the vibrancy of the regions that host them.”

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