Alex Lahey has penned an open letter to Victoria’s Premier, Daniel Andrews. She’s calling for better support for the arts throughout the COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent financial pressure on the industry.
Lahey explains how hard she’s worked to become self-sufficient from her music career and the support she also provides to local musicians.
She explains, “Last week, I was sent home from a writing trip in Los Angeles on the advice of my management after my touring engagements in Europe were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, all of my engagements for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed — both local and international.”
Lahey continues to explain how the constraints in place to try and contain the virus have meant that she’s unable to make a living for the rest of the year and, “possibly beyond, depending on how things evolve.”
“My team and I now do not have any foreseeable income to pay our rents, our mortgages, our bills and support our families.
“Whilst initiatives have been put in place to provide financial stimulus through tax initiatives and some employers have moved towards providing support for their casualized workforce, people like myself do not qualify for the latter and have to wait far too long for the former. There is no immediate relief and support.”
It’s an issue that many Australian artists and creatives have pointed out. While the government is offering some support to small business owners and some low income earners, there’s no support in place for musicians and sole traders like music photographers.
The open letter addresses this, saying, “I am in no doubt that people like myself and my peers – artists and musicians who have worked hard enough to make a modest living from their art – are among the most affected by the current health crisis.”
You can read the open letter in full down below.
Alex Lahey isn’t the first to ask for better support. A website called I Lost My Gig has been set up, encouraging performers, technical workers, hospitality staff and others involved in the performing arts industries to share their stories about the way the necessary recent cancellations of gigs in Australia has affected them. The website’s current tally is $47 million.
Owner of Brisbane’s live music venue, The Zoo, Pixie Weyand released a statement via Instagram.
“Like most of our music industry family, we survive gig to gig. I know that we are just a tiny piece of this enormous and fragile industry, that we’ve just basically watched simultaneously collapse around us.”
“We need to be heard. I want the government to see the faces behind the heartbreak that so many people in this industry are feeling.”
“It’s not just venues who are affected by this. It’s an entire eco-system of people and businesses. It’s artists, agents, promoters, managers, hospitality workers, sound and lighting engineers, roadies, TMs, ticketing companies, merch sellers.”
Watch Weyand’s statement in full below.
An open letter to @DanielAndrewsMP urging him to consider a more rapid response for artists and musicians who have found themselves without any foreseeable income in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic@VicGovAu @ArtsVic @VicGovtNews @MartinFoleyMP pic.twitter.com/rTMP7WqaCz
— Alex Lahey (@AlexLahey) March 16, 2020