Victorian Venues Call on the State Government to Provide a Roadmap to Sustainable Reopening

Victorian music venues have united to call on the State Government to provide a staged roadmap to sustainable trading along with ongoing financial support, saying that the current roadmap does not take them into consideration.

The state’s current roadmap out of lockdown means that entertainment venues will be permitted to reopen when the state reaches the milestone of 80% of residents 16 and over being fully vaccinated. However, a density quotient of one person per four square metres will be in place – meaning significantly less capacity than regular.

This, according to the venues that have banded together under the Save Our Scene banner, is unsustainable. “We may be open, but we will be bleeding out slowly,” reads a petition launched by the group.

“You can have up to 150 people, but only if your venue is over 600 square metres – that’s the Forum. Most venues cannot open at all at that level, and no venue can trade sustainably.”

The petition goes on to say that even at the relaxed restrictions of one person per two square metres, this still means operating at around 30% of most venues’ normal trading capacity, and is similarly unsustainable.

As a result, Save Our Scene – whose members include the operators and bookers of venues including 170 Russell, The Curtin, Croxton Bandroom, Whole Lotta Love and many more – are asking the government for a clear, staged roadmap to reopening music venues at 100% capacity.

In addition, they’re calling for ongoing, scaled financial support for music venues and music industry businesses and professionals until venues are able to return to 100% capacity, and direct consultation with venues in planning for the sector’s recovery.

“If we do not protect our live music venues and clubs, if we do not work towards a “COVID normal” in which live music venues and clubs can trade sustainably, there will be nowhere for musicians to perform when the dust settles,” explain the petition’s organisers.

“Audio engineers, lighting technicians, tour managers, roadies, venue managers, PA and backline companies, venue staff, bookers, promoters, managers, publicists, and a vast network of other professionals in the music industry will not be able to earn a living.

“Audiences will not be able to go out every night to experience live music: to dance together, to cheer, to have their hearts lifted up. Melbourne will no longer be the Live Music Capital of the World. We need to be on the map.”

You can sign the petition here.

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